Southwest Airlines Apologizes for Employee Who Mocked Name of 5-year-old Girl Called Abcde

Southwest Airlines has apologized after a gate agent at a California airport ridiculed a child’s unusual name.

A member of Southwest Airlines staff at John Wayne Airport poked fun at Abcde (pronounced ab-city) Redford, her mother told ABC 7.

The incident unfolded as the mother and daughter were flying home to El Paso, Texas. As Abcde has epilepsy, she always pre-boards.

As the agent checked her daughter's boarding pass, Traci said the gate agent started “mocking” the girl's name. She claimed she laughed and pointed at her and Abcde, and talked about her name to other employees.

The mother asked the agent to stop, and reminded her if she could hear her so could her daughter.

“She asked me: 'mom why is she laughing at my name?'” Traci told ABC 7. “I said ‘you know honey, not everybody is nice. And not everyone’s gonna be nice and it’s unfortunate’.”

Traci later learned the agent had taken a photo of her daughter’s boarding pass, and shared it in a mocking Facebook post after another user alerted the mother.

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines told Newsweek: "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.

The report of the incident comes after a Southwest employee was captured on video seemingly throwing a box labeled “living fish.

Passenger Loudin Krueg shared the footage on Facebook, which appeared to show a handler at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport taking a box from the baggage belt and tossing it on a cart.

Krueg told KARE that he was not only worried about the fish, but his own luggage which contained $100,000-worth of camera equipment, as well as Christmas gifts.

“Luckily, we packed them in some pretty hefty stuff, but you get worried, when you have $100,000 of stuff sitting under a plane and this guy's throwing it 15 feet in the air,” Krueg told KARE.

He added: “When I saw him throwing a live animal around, I was like this is more serious than my camera. "This is something that's supposed to be someone’s pet, so that's what got me."  

Southwest did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The airline offered its “sincere apologies” beneath Krueg’s Facebook post.

This article has been updated to include comment from Southwest Airlines.

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