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Mother angry after Southwest Airlines employee mocks her daughter’s unusual first name

Posted: 9:56 AM, Nov 29, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-29 10:56:08-05

Southwest Airlines is apologizing to an El Paso mother who claims that an employee mocked her 5-year-old daughter’s name and then posted a picture of the child’s boarding pass on social media.

Traci Redford told Los Angeles television station KABC that her daughter’s name is Abcde, which she pronounces “ab-si-dee.”

The incident happened several weeks ago when she and her daughter were preparing to board a flight from John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, Calif., back to El Paso. Redford told the station that an airport gate agent saw Abcde’s name and starting pointing and laughing and mocking her family to other employees.

“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 it if you just stop.”

It got worse, Redford claims.

“While I was sitting there, she took a picture of my boarding pass and chose to post it on social media, mocking my daughter,” Redford said. “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.”

Southwest Airlines has since apologized, saying that the social media post is “not indicative of the care, respect, and civility” that the airline requires from its 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 to the incident. “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.”

Abcde is clearly an unusual name, but it’s not unheard of. A story in Vocativ.com in 2009 indicated 328 girls have been given that name since 1990.

The story also says the name appears to be a Hawaiian phenomenon. The modern Hawaiian alphabet doesn’t include the consonants bc or d.

It will be interesting to see if the incident prompts any kind of legal action.