Southwest Airlines is apologizing to a Texas mom and her 5-year-old daughter after one of its employees openly mocked the little girl’s name.
Traci Redford told ABC affiliate KABC that several weeks ago she and her daughter Abcde — pronounced “ab-city” — were boarding a plane John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, on their way home to El Paso when the gate agent began to conspicuously make fun of her daughter’s name on the boarding pass.
“The gate agent started laughing, pointing at me and my daughter, talking to other employees. 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,’” she told the news station.
Redford says the agent even took a picture of Abcde’s boarding pass and posted the photo to social media. An acquaintance of Redford’s found the post on Facebook and reported it to Southwest. The mother said she filed formal complaints to the airline for two weeks and the company didn’t do anything.
Southwest, however, did respond to KABC’s request for comment, apologizing for their rude employee, saying it extends its “sincere apology to the family.” “The post is not indicative of the care, respect, and civility we expect from all of our Employees,” the company said.
The airline also said that it had spoken to the employee and is “using this as an opportunity to reinforce our policies and emphasize our expectations for all Employees.”
The name Abcde is not common in the United States. If you type the name into the Social Security Administration’s database of popular baby names, it states that “Abcde is not in the top 1000 names for any year of birth beginning with 2000.” But, a site called Vocativ reported in 2014, that according to the Social Security database, at least 328 babies — all girls — have been named Abcde in the U.S.