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EL PASO, Texas: Southwest Airlines has apologised after an employee made fun of a five-year-old girl in the United States named Abcde earlier this month, local media reported.
Abcde Redford (who pronounces her name “ab-city”) was with her mother Traci Redford at John Wayne Airport in California catching a flight home to El Paso, Texas on Nov 2 when the incident happened, ABC7 reported on Wednesday (Nov 28).
The five-year-old, who has epilepsy, was waiting with her mother to board when a gate agent saw her name on her boarding pass and started making fun of her, said the news report.
“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 the news station.
The gate agent also took a photo of Abcde’s boarding pass and posted it on Facebook, she said.
Added Redford: “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.”
According to ABC7’s report, Redford’s daughter had asked her why staff members 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.”
The airline issued a statement to ABC7 apologising for the incident, adding that it had “followed up with the employee involved”.
“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,” ABC7 reported the statement as saying.
“The post is not indicative of the care, respect and civility we expect from all of our employees.”