Mom accuses Southwest Airlines employee of publicly mocking her 5-year-old's name

Traci Redford said she was boarding a Southwest Airlines flight home to El Paso, Texas, with her 5-year-old daughter when she overheard an airline employee mocking the little girl’s name, Abcde (pronounced ab-city). Now the airline has apologized to the mom and daughter in a public statement.

The incident occurred at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., according to news affiliate ABC7 in Los Angeles. The Redfords were preboarding — as they usually do because Abcde is epileptic — when the Southwest Airlines gate agent started laughing and pointing at the child and making fun of her unique name to fellow airline employees. “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 ABC7.

Redford said her daughter was within ear shot and asked her, “‘Mom, why is she laughing at my name?’” according to ABC 7. “I said, ‘You know, honey, not everybody is nice. And not everyone’s gonna be nice, and it’s unfortunate,’”

What Redford didn’t find out until later, though, is that the unidentified employee also took a picture of the girl’s boarding pass and posted it on Facebook to take her name shaming public. But another social media user alerted the mom of the post after reporting it to Southwest Airlines. Redford then issued a formal complaint to Southwest Airlines and pursued it for two weeks but never got a response.

So she took her complaint to ABC7. In a video interview, she recounted the incident. Since then, Southwest Airlines has issued a public apology to Redford and her daughter. The statement reads:

“We extend our sincere apology to the family. 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.”

Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to Southwest Airlines to find out whether the worker is still employed by the company, and to Redford to find out if the airline or employee ever reached out to her directly. We will update this post when we hear back.

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