Southwest Airlines have apologised for making fun of a five-year-old passenger’s unusual name after seeing it on her boarding pass.
Mum Traci Redford claimed a member of the airline staff mocked her daughter, at John Wayne International Airport in Florida when the pair were flying home to El Paso, Texas.
Traci’s daughter suffers from epilepsy, so herself and her mum were given priority boarding on their journey, but before they could board the plane, one of the gate agents allegedly began to point and laugh in the direction of the young girl.
As if that wasn’t insulting enough, the staff member also took a picture of the boarding pass and posted it on Facebook.
— Veronica Miracle (@ABC7Veronica) November 28, 2018
Traci’s daughter’s name is Abcde – pronounced ‘Ab-city’.
Recalling the experience to ABC7, Traci said:
The gate agent started mocking my child’s name, laughing, pointing at me and my daughter, talking to other employees.
So 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.’
While I was sitting there, she took a picture of my boarding pass and chose to post it on social media, mocking my daughter.
Understandably the five-year-old was hurt by the cruel actions of the staff and asked her mum why they were laughing at her.
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.
Southwest Airlines have since issued an apology for the actions of their staff, though while they said the person in question had been spoken to they refused to admit if any disciplinary action had been taken.
The statement read:
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.
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.
They added, the Facebook post of the boarding pass ‘is not indicative of the care, respect, and civility we expect from all of our employees’.
Hopefully the staff won’t be laughing at any other passengers’ names in the future!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.