Southwest Airlines employee mocks five-year-old girl called ‘Abcde’, says mother
A US airline has issued an apology after a mum claimed an employee mocked her five-year-old daughter’s name, “Abcde”, as they were preparing to board a Texas-bound flight home.
- “Abcde” is pronounced “Ahb-sih-dee”
- A Southwest Airlines employee posted a picture of the child’s boarding pass online
- The mum claims the airline “hadn’t done anything” two weeks after she lodged a complaint
Mum Traci Redford told US broadcaster ABC7 a Southwest Airlines gate agent at John Wayne Airport, California, laughed at her daughter’s name after seeing it on her boarding pass, before posting a picture of it on social media.
Ms Redford said the incident occurred when she was pre-boarding with Abcde — whose name is pronounced “Ahb-sih-dee” — as her daughter has epilepsy.
The mum said she asked the agent to stop laughing, and said someone saw the social media post and notified Southwest Airlines.
She said: “The gate agent started mocking my child’s name, laughing, pointing at me and my daughter and talking to other employees.
“So I said, ‘I can hear you, my daughter can too, so I’d appreciate it if you just stopped’.
“After two weeks of doing a formal complaint, Southwest hadn’t done anything.”
Ms Redford told ABC7 her daughter asked why the gate agent laughed at her name.
A Southwest Airlines spokesman said the airline had followed up with the gate agent involved. (Reuters: Lucy Nicholson)
She explained: “Not everyone is nice and not everyone is going to be nice and it’s unfortunate.”
Airline spokesman Chris Maniz said the employee’s social media post “is not indicative of the care, respect, and civility” Southwest Airlines expects.
He added: “We take great pride in extending our Southwest hospitality to all of our customers.
“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 emphasise our expectations for all employees.”
According to the Social Security Administration database, 328 children were named Abcde between 1990 and 2013 in the US.