- A Southwest Airlines employee was overheard mocking a child named Abcde.
- The 5-year-old girl’s name is pronounced “AB-si-dee.”
- The girl’s mother overheard and complained.
- The airline has now apologized, but people on social media have little sympathy for the mother.
A mother was left furious after she found out an airline employee had made fun of her 5-year-old daughter’s name both in person and on social media.
Traci Redford, whose daughter’s name is Abcde (pronounced “AB-si-dee”), said a gate agent for Southwest Airlines working at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, mocked the young girl.
The incident happened a few weeks ago when the family was flying home to El Paso, Texas. Because Abcde has epilepsy, they were preboarding the plane.
Redford said that was when she overheard a staff member making fun of Abcde.
“The gate agent started mocking my child’s name, laughing, pointing at me and my daughter – and I’m talking 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 if you’d just stop,” Redford told ABC7.
The employee reportedly posted a picture of Abcde’s boarding pass on social media, too.
In a statement to Business Insider, Southwest Airlines apologized to the family and said, “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. 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.”
However, many people on social media have expressed a lack of sympathy for Redford, suggesting she should have expected Abcde to be teased.
“You are mad someone is making fun of your girls name and you named her ‘Abcde’? What did you… think… was… gonna… happen…” one Twitter user wrote.
You are mad someone is making fun of your girls name and you named her “Abcde”? What did you… think… was… gonna… happen… https://t.co/wpzu4rNBT4
— Chris D'Elia (@chrisdelia) November 29, 2018
“The Southwest employee was rude but seriously, how do you not expect this to happen when you name your kid Abcde and pronounce it ab-city? I mean, think of the effect on a child when you pick a name. Ugh.” another wrote.
The Southwest employee was rude but seriously, how do you not expect this to happen when you name your kid Abcde and pronounce it ab-city? I mean, think of the effect on a child when you pick a name. Ugh.
— Stacey (@sshruff1) November 29, 2018
Some accused Redford of attention-seeking by choosing the unusual name in the first place.
If you name your child “Abcde” and assign a fake pronunciation to it, don’t pretend you’re offended when you get the attention we all know you were seeking when you did it. https://t.co/rIiKZsGkUP
— Ooooh Billy Billy Billy Billy (@Old_Billy_Baroo) November 29, 2018
Meanwhile, others suggested the airline agent should actually be praised.
She named her child "Abcde."
Promote the Southwest gate agent. https://t.co/DlijkymhM6
— Jeff B. (@EsotericCD) November 29, 2018