The mother of a 5-year-old Texas child whose first name is Abcde – pronounced “Ab-city”- is speaking out after she says the child was mocked by a Southwest Airlines employee who they say posted the daughter’s boarding pass to social media while making fun of her name.
According to KABC in Los Angeles, when the mother and daughter were getting on a plane at John Wayne Airport in Southern California to return to El Paso, a Southwest gate agent audibly mocked the child’s name to those around her. Then, the agent took a picture of the boarding pass, which was later posted to Facebook.
“The gate agent started laughing, pointing at me and my daughter, talking to other employees,” Traci Redford told the TV station. “So I turned around and said, ‘Hey if I can hear you, my daughter can hear you, so I’d appreciate if you’d just stop.”
Traci did not hear anything from the airline for two weeks after she filed a formal complaint, but once the media reported on the incident, the airline released a statement of apology, although it didn’t disclose anything specific about whether or not the employee had been fired or otherwise disciplined.
“We extend our sincere apology to the family,” Southwest said. “We take great pride in extending our Southwest Hospitality to all of our Customers, which includes living by the Golden Rule and treating every individual with respect, in person or online. The post is not indicative of the care, respect, and civility we expect from all of our Employees. We have followed up with the Employee involved, and while we do not disclose personnel actions publicly, we are using this as an opportunity to reinforce our policies and emphasize our expectations for all Employees.”
Per NBC News, Southwest previously drew fire for an incident in September 2017 when a viral video surfaced of a woman being dragged off a flight by law enforcement. The woman had been reported to have a life-threatening pet allergy, and there were multiple service dogs on board. The airline later apologized to the woman. In another incident earlier this year reported by CNN, also on Southwest, a white mother on a flight was asked to “prove” that her biracial child was actually hers before getting on a plane.
— Veronica Miracle (@ABC7Veronica) November 28, 2018
According to a tweet by Houston ABC TV reporter Samica Knight, which cited Social Security Administration data, there are currently more than 300 people in the United States with the first name “Abcde.”