Traci Redford, a mother from El Paso, Texas, is speaking out after an incident involving a Southwest Airlines employee mocking her daughter’s unique name has gone viral.
Abcde Redford, Redford’s 5-year-old daughter, was mocked by a Southwest Airlines employee as she and her mother were about to board a plane from Santa Ana, California, to their home in El Paso, according to her mother.
Redford has gone public with the incident, posting a video on social media with what she says happened that day at the airport. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Traci Redford Says The Southwest Employees Mocked Her Daughter’s Name & Her Daughter Heard Them
Redford told ABC7 that Abcde is epileptic, so they normally pre-board and were prepared to do so when she noticed the gate agents pointing at her daughter.
“The gate agent started laughing, pointing at me and my daughter, talking to other employees,” Redford said in a video posted on social media. “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 claimed her daughter heard the employee mocking her and asked why. She tried to use the incident as a teaching experience for her daughter, but will still angry and upset that her daughter was being bullied at an airport at 5-years-old.
“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,” she told ABC7.
2.Traci Redford Also Says The Employees Took a Photo of Her Daughter’s Boarding Pass & Posted it on Social Media
The gate agent also took a picture of Abcde’s boarding pass and posted it on social media, according to Redford, who found out about the picture from someone else who saw it online.
“While I was sitting there, she took a picture of my boarding pass and chose to post it on social media, mocking my daughter,” Redford told ABC7. “It was actually brought to my attention by somebody who had seen it on Facebook and reported it to Southwest Airlines.”
The incident happened a few weeks ago, and Redford says she has been trying to reach Southwest Airlines for weeks, to no avail. She told ABC7 that “after two weeks of doing a formal complaint, Southwest hadn’t done anything.”
3. Southwest Airlines Released a Statement Apologizing to Redford & Says They Have ‘Followed Up’ With The Employee
According to BuzzFeed News, Southwest Airlines spokesperson Chris Mainz offered a statement with the company’s “sincere apology to the family” and said the employee’s social media post “is not indicative of the care, respect, and civility” expected of Southwest employees.
Southwest also told BuzzFeed that the company has “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,” Mainz said.
“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,” he added.
4. Some Social Media Users Are Criticizing Redford For Giving Her Daughter a Name That is ‘Easily Ridiculed’
Although many social media users agree that it was insensitive and unnecessary to make fun of a child for her name, others are lashing out at Redford, claiming she set her child up to be mocked and ridiculed by giving her such a unique name, making her an easy target for bullying.
“Don’t name your child something very well knowing she’s going to be the butt of future jokes,” one user wrote.
Another wrote: “The Southwest employee was rude but seriously, how do you not expect this to happen when you name your kid Abcde and pronounce it ab-city? I mean, think of the effect on a child when you pick a name. Ugh.”
Others joked about her name, writing things like “just imagine what happens when her brother, 12345 (pronounced Juan-tu Treefofi) starts to travel.”
5. The Name ‘Abcde’ is Actually Not a Completely Uncommon Name – More Than 300 Children Are Named Abcde in America
Although the name is unique, it is not totally unheard of, especially in America. Another young girl named Abcde Santos, a 7-year-old autistic girl, made headlines after she was turned away by a mall Santa in 2014 because he was afraid of her pit bull service dog.
After the name made headlines from Santos’ story in 2014, Vocativ reported there were 328 people named Abcde in the United States, almost all of whom are children.
Several mothers on The Bump, an online pregnancy forum, claim to have met children named Abcde in real life, showing just how common the name is starting to become. However, several posts on the site have also dubbed it one of the “worst names ever.”