Mom Says Southwest Airlines Employee Made Fun of Daughter Abcde's Name

Playing Southwest Apologizes After Gate Agent Reportedly Mocked Girl Named Abcde

Southwest Airlines has apologized to a Texas mother after one of the company's employees allegedly made fun of her 5-year-old daughter's name.

Traci Redford and her daughter Abcde, pronounced "Ab-city," were at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California, for a flight home to El Paso on Nov. 2. Because of Abcde's epilepsy, the mother and daughter were about pre-board the plane, a routine they are used to, when they heard laughter.  

Redford said she could hear a Southwest gate agent chuckling and pointing at her daughter, mocking Abcde’s name.

“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 it if you’d stop,'” Redford told KABC.

The same employee then apparently proceeded to take a photo of little Abcde's boarding pass, sharing the picture on her Facebook account. The post has since been removed.

The airline recently apologized after the story attracted attention online. "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," Southwest 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 emphasize our expectations for all Employees."

As different as the name Abcde might seem, it is not totally uncommon.

According to Vocativ.com, as of 2014, there are 328 baby girls named Abcde, with 32 of the girls born in 2009. The first Abcde in the U.S. was recorded in 1990; however the website does say “the exact number of Abcdes living in the United States today may vary depending on immigrations, emigrations, and name changes.”

Redford told KABC that she had to explain to Abcde why people were laughing at her name.  

“I said, 'Not everyone is nice and not everyone is going to be nice and it's unfortunate,'" she said.

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