Southwest Airlines apologizes after mother says gate agent mocked 5-year-old's name

A Texas mother claims a Southwest Airlines agent made fun of her daughter’s name and continued to mock it on social media.

KABC reported that Traci Redford said she and her 5-year-old daughter, Abcde -- pronounced "ab-city" -- were boarding a plane at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California, on Nov. 2 to return home to El Paso, Texas.

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“The gate agent started laughing, pointing at me and my daughter, talking to other employees. So I turned around and just said, like, ‘Hey I can hear you, so if I can hear you, my daughter can too. Like, I’d appreciate it if you'd just stop,’” Redford said.

Redford’s daughter did hear the laughing, according to her mother.

“She said, ‘Mom, why is she laughing at my name?’ And I said, ‘Not everyone is nice and not everyone is going to be nice and it's unfortunate,’” Redford said.

The local station said Redford and her daughter always preboard because Abcde has epilepsy.

“While I was sitting (at the gate), 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 issued the following statement to KABC in response:

“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.”

KABC reported that the employees accused of making fun of Abcde did not respond to requests for content.

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