Southwest Apologizes After Gate Agent Mocks 5-Year-Old Named ABCDE
Southwest Airlines has apologized to a 5-year-old girl and her mother after a gate attendant openly mocked the child’s name—Abcde—and posted a picture of her boarding pass on social media.
(Although Abcde, in this case pronounced “Ab-city”, hasn’t been one of the thousand most popular baby names since 1900, a search of the Social Security Administration’s data found that 339 girls were named Abcde in the United States between 2000 and 2017—topping at 32 in 2009 and dipping at six last year.)
Traci Redford told ABC7 Wednesday that the incident occurred a few weeks ago when she and her daughter, who lives with epilepsy, began pre-boarding their flight from John Wayne Airport in Orange County home to El Paso, Texas.
“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,'” Redford told ABC.
Redford claims that rather than de-escalating her teasing, “While I was sitting there, [the agent] 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.”
Although Redford’s complaint, made to Southwest two weeks ago, went unanswered, the airlines has now issued an apology.
“We extend our sincere apology to the family,” Southwest said in a statement provided to Fortune. “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.”
While the airline didn’t specify what actions had been taken, it did follow up with the employee involved in the incident.