US airline apologises after employee mocks child named Abcde

WASHINGTON • A Texas mother is calling out a Southwest Airlines employee who she said mocked her five-year-old daughter's name and then posted a picture of the child's boarding pass on social media.

Ms Traci Redford told ABC affiliate KABC her daughter's name is Abcde, which is pronounced "ab-si-dee."

Ms Redford said the incident occurred several weeks ago when she and her daughter were preparing to board a flight from Santa Ana, California, to their home in El Paso, Texas.

Ms Redford told the TV station that a gate agent at California's John Wayne Airport saw Abcde's name and started pointing, laughing and talking to other employees about her and her child.

"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'," she told the station.

She added: "While I was sitting there, she 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. And after two weeks of doing a formal complaint, Southwest hadn't done anything."

Southwest Airlines has since apologised.

"We take great pride in extending our Southwest hospitality to all of our customers, which includes... treating every individual with respect, in person or online," a spokesman for the airline said in a statement.

"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 emphasise our expectations for all employees."

Although Abcde is an unusual name, it is not unheard of.


In 2014, Vocativ reported that over the past three decades, 328 baby girls have been given that name, with 32 of them born in 2009.

But when the name is entered into the US Social Security Administration's database of popular baby names, it states that "Abcde is not in the top 1,000 names for any year of birth beginning with 2000".

Nicknames include Ce-Ce, Sidy, Abby, Xyzzie, Aebi and Seedy, according to


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 02, 2018, with the headline 'US airline apologises after employee mocks child named Abcde'. Subscribe