November 29th, 2018 – An Orange County mother is speaking out after a Southwest Airlines gate agent made fun of her daughter’s name. Traci Redford was traveling to El Paso, Texas with her five-year-old daughter but pre-boarding at John Wayne Airport didn’t go as smoothly as she would have hoped.
According to Redford, the agent looked at her daughter’s boarding pass and laughed at the name: Abcde Redford (pronounced “ab-city”).
“The gate agent started 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,'” Redford told ABC7.
— Veronica Miracle (@ABC7Veronica) November 28, 2018
The family always pre-boards due to Abcde’s epilepsy, but her unique name slowed down the process a little bit. Despite dealing with the mocking in the moment, Redford didn’t know the extent of what some are calling “name shaming” until days later.
“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,” she said.
After the story was picked up by a local ABC affiliate, Southwest released a statement. Without saying whether or not the employee was fired, the company did say that they were using the incident as an opportunity to remind all staff of their policies and expectations.
“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.”
Redford has also shared with her daughter some tough expectations she may face later in life.
“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.'”
The laughter continued on Twitter as people responded to the story with jokes and wondered how the mom didn’t see this coming.
How ironic that she is also named after the entire row of seats
— Todd Kling (@toddo67) November 29, 2018
This story is abcrd
— John Snider (@JohnFSnider) November 29, 2018
Yes. It’s not nice to mock little kids but, holy shit, if she’s going to grow upset every time someone laughs or mocks her child’s name, she’s going to have a hobby for life.
— KateRothwell (@KateRothwell) November 29, 2018
Pretty sure this was parent shaming. And seems to be perfectly applied.
— Butler, Lanz & Wagler (@BLH_Advisors) November 29, 2018
While, I think it’s pretty mean to make fun of a child’s name in her presence, come on, mom! What were you thinking? I’m all for unique names, but you were setting your child up for ridicule at birth. The mother is the real villain in this scenario.
— Brent Pennington (@TxTiger72) November 29, 2018
— Peter Slattery (@PeterSlattery3) November 29, 2018