Brent's Story



Brent Midlock was violently dragged 10 feet inside one of the resort's swimming pool pipes at the Occidental Grand Xcaret located in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.  He was killed due to the gross negligence of the owners/operators, by the gross negligence of the resort staff, and the lack of safety and security on the premises of the resort.


Brent was an innocent child who entered a 4-foot deep pool promoted as a pool to snorkel in.  Warning signs did not exist, there was not a life-guard, and there were not any employees located by, near or around the pool.  There was no visible danger to guests and no reason to believe that there was eminent danger to any guest.  This resort allegedly is designated as an "upscale, family-friendly" place.  Does Occidental provide the vacation of a lifetime?  You can bet your life on it — Brent Midlock did.  Is that what they mean when they say their Mayan Riviera resorts are "family friendly"?  The only way to avoid the thousands of tragedies like these is to avoid traveling in regions that are not safe.  Spend your tourist dollars elsewhere.


"Beyond Your Expectations…"  Mexico and the Occidental certainly surpassed expectations.  They served up the tragedy of a missing person and Brent’s untimely death seasoned with management lies and deception used to cover up the truth.  They chose to recover the lifeless body of an innocent 8-year-old under the cover of darkness in the deep of the night, which meant that they didn't close the swimming pool and adjacent restaurant during peak hours even though Brent Midlock lay dead in the pool in one of the pipes all during that time.  They chose to allow Brent's family to believe he was missing during the recovery process.  They chose to refuse to accept responsibility and accountability for the death they caused by their own negligence, and to date continue to deny their culpability.  Occidental’s corporate philosophy talks about offering guests a “variety of interests”, do these interests include management deceiving its guests, denying accountability, and deflecting responsibility for destroying people's lives in order to cover-up their negligence and incompetence?


Occidental Hotels and Resorts"...we integrate Dangers Analysis, followed by a system of Environmental Management.  Once we consolidate these phases, the hotel establishes a mature level of quality management to achieve excellence in quality.”  Excellence in quality and an integrated dangers analysis resulted in a series of three underwater drain pipes, each 12 inches in diameter, with the force of gravity pulling water into at least one of them at a 600 psi.  That is water pressure strong enough to cause Brent to be sucked into one of the pipes in less than a second and folded in half, dislocating his shoulders, right elbow, and left knee.  That is quality and safety in the eyes of Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret.


The level of hospitality offered by the management of the Occidental to the Midlock family included having resort security follow their movements, deny them access to the sight of their son's death, and lock them out of their room.  The owners/operators of the Occidental never once called the room, offered any counseling, or even cleaned the room after Brent died.  Their treatment defied innate human qualities that most people in a civilized world possess.  The family was ignored and treated with less dignity than animals going to slaughter.  Brent’s body was treated even worse.  Expectations, hospitality, and quality management... to Occidental these are nothing other than empty rhetoric.


The Midlock’s went to check in at the Caribbean Village.  They presented the travel documents and confirmation to the front desk attendant.  Yet, to their surprise, the attendant told the family that they were overbooked and they were going to another Occidental property, Flamenco Grand XcaretThe Midlock’s asked how that could be possible, as Apple hadn't notified them of any changes.


Apple’s Contract unmistakably states the following: "In the unlikely event that a major change (involving a change of hotel, departure or return date, departure city, or destination) becomes necessary, we will notify you as soon as possible.  If you find the revised arrangements we offer unacceptable, you will have the option of cancellation without charge (less insurance premium) provided that you notify us within seven days of your receipt of notice of the change (or prior to departure date if notified less than seven day prior).  In the event of a change we will try to substitute comparable services, but in the event of complete cancellation by us, our only liability will be to refund all monies paid.  Special features offered by hotels are subject to change at the hotel's discretion."


The Apple catalogue states that the resort had a 5 Apple rating which is based on "hundreds of thousands" of Apple Vacation Questionnaires.  It is interesting to note that they could have thousands of surveys returned to rate a resort that hadn't been open for even one year.  According to Apple, the Occidental's 5 Apple rating indicates it is an excellent resort "with superior first-class accommodations, and guest services.”  Apple now maintains that they knew nothing about the situation, allowing one to interpret that they do not follow their customers "every step of the way”.


Clearly, Apple violated their contract with the Midlock family by either not knowing where their clients were or by pre-arranging the transfer.  In either case, it was a distinct breach of trust, service, and competence.  As a result, Apple Vacations became an accomplice to the senseless death of an innocent 8-year-old child, Brent Midlock.  Apple continues to promote a resort, the Occidental Grand Xcaret, where the hotel's negligence created life-altering devastation.  This behavior allows one to question the ethics and morality of Apple's management because they continue to associate with such a resort.  The same can be said about tour operators and Internet sites (such as Fun Jet / Trip Advisor, etc.) which continue to promote this resort via allegedly unbiased reviews, many of which are created by the resorts themselves.