Southwest Airlines apologises after staff member allegedly mocked five-year-old girl named Abcde
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Southwest Airlines apologises after staff member allegedly mocked five-year-old girl named Abcde

A US AIRLINE has apologised after a member of staff was accused of ridiculing the name of a five-year-old passenger called Abcde.

Traci Redford was travelling with her daughter – whose name is pronounced "Ab-Sih-Dee" – earlier this month when a Southwest Airlines boarding gate employee at John Wayne Airport in California allegedly laughed and took a photo of the child’s boarding pass, before posting it on social media.

The pair were flying home to El Paso, Texas, and were boarding early at the time as Abcde suffers from epilepsy.

"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'," Ms Redford told ABC7 News.

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The boarding pass posted online (Image: Twitter)

"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."

In a statement, Southwest Airlines apologised and said the employee involved violated the "Golden Rule" of "treating every individual with respect".

They said: "We extend our sincere apology to the family. 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."

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The name Abcde is rare but certainly not unique. In 2014, it was found that 328 baby girls in the US have been given the name over the past three decades – 32 of whom were born in 2009 alone.

That same year, a seven-year-old girl with autism called Abcde Santos hit headlines when she was turned away from meeting Santa Claus at a mall in California because of her service dog.

Nicknames for people named Abcde include 'Ce-Ce', 'Sidy' and 'Abby', according to Baby Name Wizard.