Southwest Airlines has attracted controversy again after one of their gate agents at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, mocked a passenger's five-year-old daughter's unusual name. As the pair pre-boarded (due to the little girl's epilepsy), the gate agent reportedly laughed and pointed at the little girl before jokingly talking about her name to other employees.
The girl's name is ABCDE (pronounced ab-city). She asked her mother what was going on:
"She asked me: 'mom why is she laughing at my name?' I said 'you know honey, not everybody is nice. And not everyone's gonna be nice and it's unfortunate.'"
The mother, Traci, later found out the agent had taken a photo of ABCDE's boarding pass to use in a Facebook post.
This happened just days after a Southwest baggage handler was caught on film throwing boxes labelled "live fish" through the air carelessly.
The airline has issued yet another apology:
"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."
Online, some are calling for the gate agent to be fired for her disrespect, but others don't think this needs to go that far.
Some Twitter users thought the girl's mother was asking for trouble when she gave her child such an unusual name.
Though her mother probably wouldn't like it, the pronunciation of ABCDE caused a fair number of jokes on Twitter.
In fact, online, a fair number of people believed the girl's mother should be held accountable in some way.
One thing seems obvious: ABCDE should get used to jokes, because she'll most likely be dealing with them her whole life.