Southwest apologizes after gate agent allegedly mocks 5-year-old named Abcde
The child's mother says a Southwest Airlines gate agent made fun of her 5-year-old daughter both in person and on social media.
A Texas mother is calling out a Southwest Airlines employee who she said mocked her 5-year-old daughter's name and posted a picture of the child's boarding pass on social media.
Traci Redford told ABC affiliate KABC her daughter's name is Abcde, pronounced "ab-si-dee."
The incident occurred several weeks ago when she and her daughter were preparing to board a flight from Santa Ana, California, to El Paso, Redford told the station. A gate agent at John Wayne Airport saw Abcde's name and started pointing, laughing and talking to other employees about Redford and her child.
"So I turned around and just said, 'Hey, I can hear you, so if I can hear you, my daughter can, too. I'd appreciate if you'd just stop,' " she told the station.
She added: "While I was sitting there, she took a picture of my boarding pass and chose to post it on social media, mocking my daughter. It was actually brought to my attention by somebody who had seen it on Facebook and reported it to Southwest Airlines. And after two weeks of doing a formal complaint, Southwest hadn't done anything."
Redford could not immediately be found for comment Thursday.
Southwest Airlines has since apologized, saying that the social media post is "not indicative of the care, respect, and civility" it requires of employees.
"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," a spokesman for the airline said in a statement. "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."
Although Abcde is an unusual name, it's not unheard of. In 2014, Vocativ reported that over the past three decades, 328 baby girls have been given that name, 32 of whom were born in 2009. But when the name is entered 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."
Nicknames include Ce-Ce, Sidy, Abby, Xyzzie, Aebi and Seedy, according to BabyNameWizard.com.