Awful: Southwest Airlines Gate Agent Mocks Five Year Old Girl’s Name

Filed Under: Southwest

Southwest Airlines is usually known for their great service, but obviously there are going to be some bad apples. The airline is in the news because a gate agent mocked a five year old girl’s name, and even posted her boarding pass on social media.

Why? Because of her name. The girl’s name was Abcde (pronounced “ab-city”), and the gate agent thought that was funny. Now, that’s certainly a creative name, and I think there’s nothing wrong with saying “awww, that’s a cute name,” but to laugh at a five year old (or anyone, in that way) is not cool.

The girl and her mother were flying from Orange County to El Paso, when the mother heard the gate agent mock her daughter, per ABC7:

“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.’

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.”

That’s really awful. It’s bad enough to mock someone’s name, but to post it on social media after the mother asked her to stop is even worse.

Southwest Airlines issued the following statement regarding the incident:

“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.”

Hopefully the employee in question is seriously reprimanded, because that’s not cool.

  1. My understanding is that airlines are required to safeguard the information on your boarding pass to stay PCI compliant.

  2. I totally agree with your side. Though I wonder how many times that girl would have to correct her name every time she has a substitute teacher in class (I personally have gone through the struggle) 😉

  3. That’s an excellent question Peter. I am amazed that parents think it’s normal to give children names like that because it will certainly open the child up to mocking and being made fun of in school.

    Although for an airline employee to do it is absolutely ridiculous

  4. The airline agent has 100% responsibility of this incident. The little girl’s parents, however, have 100% responsibility of such an awful name.

  5. When I thought people couldn’t come up with more idiotic names for their kid, this lady comes along. This girl better change her name as soon as she can cause no recruiter is going to take her job application seriously.

  6. It’s not appropriate to mock the girl, since there’s really nothing she can do about her name (for now). The mother, on the other hand, deserves every bit of mocking for giving so little thought to her daughter’s name.

    If the mother can’t handle this, just wait until her child gets the full treatment from the trolls at her daughter’s school.

  7. So even though the name is rare, Abcde is popupar with Hispanic American

    and Americans should really stop to make fun of people name. If you look up, Pete, a pretty popular name for American, is a kind of vegetable that can make your breath really, really bad.

  8. While it’s not cool to laugh at a kid, the more egregious action was the choice to name her daughter Abcde. As a teacher in America, I was shouted at more than once by moronic parents for mispronouncing a kid’s “unique” name while taking roll the first class. I mean, jeez. Maybe you shouldn’t spell your child’s name LaRon and get angry when I don’t pronounce it as “Lay-Rone” the first time. Of course, when the kid told me how to pronounce it, I pronounced it that way after. American stupidity at its finest. Since I began teaching in Russia, I have yet to come across a student with a retarded name. I also haven’t come across any psycho parent who tried to get me fired for mispronouncing their little precious Anastasia’s name the first time I was there. (Of course, I pronounce the Russian names perfectly now, and know the short forms of all the names, but it definitely wasn’t perfect at the beginning since the anglicized and Russian variants of the names are often pronounced differently.)

  9. The agent should not have done what s/he did. But the mother is just insane. if you pick a name that bizarre, even though it is popupar with Hispanics, as Reader Teddy points out, you know the kid gets ridiculed. There were two kids in Atlanta called Orangejello and Lemonjello. What do you think happened to them? Even if you pronounce it Oranjello.

    It just make it hard on the kid all their live long. No one will ask Teddy how to spell Teddy, but I promise you at every school, doctor’s office or business purchase that poor kid will have to spell her name. What a giant waste of time.

  10. There are three people in the world who would know how to correctly pronounce that “name” – the kid and the parents, if they expected some $8 and hour gate agent, or anyone, not to talk to others thinking it might be an error or even talk jokingly about it, they’re idiots.

    They think it’s bad at the airport? Wait till that kid gets in school. If I were that kid, I’d use my middle name, unless of course it was “fghij” which would force me to hit up the court for a name change the day I turned 18.

  11. Lewis Black had a bit on “Abcde” years and years ago. Called it “the worst labor on record, she was in the hospital for 36 hours and was like ‘screw it! A-b-c-d-e.'”
    Maybe worse yet, pronounded sh-thea. Spelled with an “i” where the dash is and a “d” where the period is.

    Regardless, I will add Southwest to my ban list. Along with Delta for being racist, United for dragging people, and American for any numerous reasons people have thrown out there over the last months.


  12. Gate agent should be fired. Mother should be ashamed for naming her child Abcde. Good luck to schools avoiding her to be bullied. Sorry, when that happens she should blame her mother. Some people don’t think about their kids when they decide their names and what a kid carrying that name would face in life. I know a famous case in a Latin American country where the family named their 3 kids as Xerox, Photocopy and Stamp. You can only imagine those kids going to school.

  13. The parents are idiots, although doesn’t excuse the agents behavior. I remember in elementary school, a girls last name was White. Her parents thought it was cute to name her Snow. Guess some parents don’t know what grief their kid will go through.

  14. I don’t buy “the name is popular in Hispanic American community” argument. According to the wiki page someone posted, there are only 300+ cases. you cannot consider a name is “popular” with only 300 cases in any demographic group

  15. As with most commenters here, while I agree it’s way beyond the pale for an airline employee to be mocking the name, come on, what were the parents thinking? They were inviting mockery, unfortunately for the poor little girl, when they chose that name.

  16. It is funny. And whoever named the poor child “abcde” is a stupid idiot. Yes, I said it – and it needs to be said. What did mom expect when she made such an idiotic decision about her child’s life? How is “abcde” going to look on a resume? A college application? A home loan application? It’s going to look as laughable as it did on the boarding pass.

    The agent shouldn’t have poked fun, but what did mom expect when she stuck her child with a joke of a name? It just begs people to mock and tease.

  17. I have to agree with, well, everyone.

    The gate agent should not be posting the boarding pass on social media (for security, privacy and ethical reasons) or pointing and laughing.

    But the parents are god awful for naming their kid such a name. Sure the kid can have a name change when she’s 18, but the damage would’ve been done at that point. She would’ve already endured years of mockery and bullying.

  18. New Zealand has many cases ….There was Benson and Hedges , midnight chardonnay , 4Real, no fear , tulula does the hula from Hawaii and … ………Anal ??!!!

  19. I never thought Abcde was an actual name, i had seen it on a Studio C episode and i guess its popular with Hispanics and Mormons. First that mom clearly doesn’t care about her childs future and ill say this just proves how stupid millenial feminists are. Clearly the gate agent shouldn’t have done that but still… im laughing over the fact that this woman had cleverity to name her child that… had she not been named that this wouldn’t have happened.. (Although it is worth pointing out that kids in Utah are named really weird names like Jaxson and McKinzlee, Bradie, Brecklyn, Kysee, Trayln, etc.) Lol!

  20. ridiculous behavior by everyone being so fragile. they told me i can be anything I want to be but I cannot take being called a name.

  21. 1) The gate agent was wrong to mock the kid, and I hope she is fired or at least severely reprimanded. As someone who’s had his actual name (unintentionally) butchered by non-Indians my entire life, I’m sympathetic to the girl’s plight. But….

    2) C’mon, parents – PLEASE think twice before giving your kid a bizarre name. If you think the mocking by the gate agent is bad, just wait until your child goes to middle school. It’s gonna be brutal, and your kid is going to resent you for life. Before anyone asks, no, I’m not suggesting that parents Anglicize their kids’ names just to make them easier to pronounce. Just stop with weird stuff like “Abcde”, “La-a”, and other similarly out-of-left-field names I’ve seen.

    As an aside, this whole thing sort of reminds me of the episode of Married with Children where Bud receives a Valentine’s card from “Aprilmayjune” and assumes it’s fake. Turns out she’s real, and her response to Bud’s question about how she got her name: “my parents are idiots”.

  22. hahahaha that mom is stupid.. she named her kid that for the attention. Did she really think it would be positive? that kid will be mocked its entire life, and will probably go by a different name. congrats cool mom, you played yourself

  23. Two things can be true at once. The gate agent’s actions were terrible, and Abcde is a terrible name to give a child.

  24. I had a crazy aunt who named my cousin Ombra, which means “shadow” in Italian which is a common name for a dog. My cousin was tormented in school and when she turned 18 she asked my father if he would pay the legal charges to have her name changed since her mother wouldn’t. Today she is Sofia, a very common, normal Italian name. This was 30 years ago and maybe things are easier for kids today with unique names but back then it was a cruel world for such kids. Knowing what my cousin went through I feel sorry for this poor little girl.

    The Southwest agent should either be retrained or fired.

  25. I’m hispanic…and guess what? If any of my relatives named their kid ABCDE I’d call them an idiot as well. Who the hell thinks this is popular for hispanics? Jesus is popular (Heh-soos), and that gets plenty of crap for kids in school.

    ABCDE is NOT popular with hispanics. Please stop propogating that.

  26. Feel bad for the little girl. But this mother is an idiot. She made a joke out of naming her daughter and then gets upset when others laugh at her joke…

  27. What ghe employee did was wrong but its cruel to give your child such a name!! Its setting her up for being bullied.

  28. You don’t fire people for doing this. They should have ridiculed her behind her back like everyone else.

    Everyone I showed this story to had the same response

    There should be legislation prohibiting people from giving their offspring stupid names as in some countries

    The parents are complete morons for giving their daughter this name

    And here is the mayor .. abcd. President Abcd The chairwoman abcd
    Captain abcd

  29. Parent is a moron. The kid is going to have much, much bigger issues to worry about.

    Hey hackers, all their accounts use QWERTY123 as their passwords – go get ’em!

  30. The parents or mother made a big error in giving the child that name.

    Abcidee, would have been similar but better.

  31. Your headline is click bait.
    That little girl’s name is ridiculous and she will be ridiculed her entire life. Thanks mom!

  32. Wow I cant believe there’s actually a consensus of views for once. Good job team!

    Dont name your kid Abcde

  33. @Icarus: How would you feel if you had your 5 year old daughter’s boarding pass photographed by a gate agent and posted on her social media mocking the kid? The mother is a moron for naming her kid that way but the gate agent action was not appropriate at all. Yes, ridiculed her behind her back, YES. Posting a picture of someone else boarding pass on social media, NO.

  34. They aren’t going to fire an employee for that… its a documented counseling session. Next time, don’t post anything on social media and wait till the people are on the plane before you talk to another employee and mock the name.

  35. So in the USA freedom extends so far to give your child any name you can think of? seriously? under the assumption the parent(s) are fully responsible I guess… poor child really.

    Now I have some doubt Abcde is “en vogue” in South America as browsing in Spanish or even Portuguese did not return matches… except for this sad story… but if the parent was looking for attention she definitely has got some now… global across the world…

    Oh and while browsing for absurd names I came across that Colombian female citizen that opted for this name: Abcdefg Hijklmn Opqrst Uvwxyz … not her name at birth… free choice… apparently possible in Colombia… apparently real…

    But honestly is that kind of information worth being shared in this blog… I have my serious doubts (even the absurdity caught me 😉

  36. At least you can write an article without passing judgement on the parents and injecting your own opinion about whether or not its a proper name and instead focus solely on the behavior of the airline staff which is the relevant news story here. Wish all bloggers gave neutral reporting like you did here.

  37. @Erick People are allowed to name their child as they see fit in the US for the most part. The constitution protects our rights compared to some other countries that prevent certain names. In Switzerland you can’t even name your child Paris. There are limits in some very very extreme cases in the US but those are decided in the courts. I’d rather live in a free country with the occasional stupidly named baby than in a country that feels the need to tell me what I can and can not name my child.

  38. @Bill … oh I happen to know Switzerland quite well … not a bad place to live believe me though depending where in Switzerland your child is born you may face some challenges regarding the name. I faced that challenge so I know but my child got the name we had chosen. So no there is nothing like it is allowed or forbidden though you would have a tough time to justify abcdef… or highway as a child’s name.

    @Chris: good one love it. Diverse world…still 🙂

  39. Not sure about the obsession of getting people fired. Why train people when punishing them is more rewarding!

  40. Well the boarding pass shouldn’t be on social media – but that’s about as far as it goes regarding criticisms of the gate employee IMHO. This kind of every day reaction is going to haunt this child. What a thoughtless woman to expose her child to such ridicule. It’s not going to just go away. You know if she had wanted to give her daughter this name she could have just added an “i”, Abcidé etc. But it wasn’t about that was it….

  41. The Southwest employee shouldn’t have done that but that’s the kind of thing that’s going to happen if you give your child such a ridiculous, stupid name. Imagine what that girl has to go through every single day, and how it will be a problem for her for the rest of her life. Who is ever going to hire someone with that name? That mother is pathetic.

  42. Lol. Stupid mom, mean gate agent, poor kid.

    Won’t be the last time that name gets made fun of and I really am having a hard time blaming the people that will do it. Wow.

  43. While the SW employees actions were wrong I really have to take offense with the parents for naming the child in this manner. I wonder if they had twins if they would have named the boy hijklm?
    Ridiculous, poor child will be subjected to ridicule until she can legally change her name

  44. for sure posting the bp online is a major no-no. But c’mon. This mother created this idiotic name for her daughter. She bears a good bit of the responsibility. Hopefully she can afford the years of therapy that poor child is going to need.

  45. Some of the idiotic comments here about this little girl’s name are just gobsmacking. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Clearly scraping the bottom of the readership barrel in the comments section. May your flights always be delayed.

  46. All joking aside, it is a little funny that someone names their kid ABCDE… I mean cut the employee a break.

  47. Yeah, mom has a room temperature IQ. She looks straight out of the hills have eyes. I’m sure the daughter is showing its dominant mongo genes too. She’s stoked about the opportunity to do a press tour about it though. If you name your kid something retarded, the court system should order your castration, put the child in the care of a hopefully more intelligent, normal relative (if one exists), and institutionalize both parents. Retards.

  48. My good friend’s daughter is a nurse in a delivery room back east. The mother named the girl
    La-a. Figure it out?

  49. There are kids with James like Chlamydia or Meconium creatively named by their parents. These folks dont do their offsprings Amy favour. I am anticipating to see BknCondom or MyHymen as first names soon. Sick parents, declining society.

  50. That name is child abuse, the poor kid will be bullied mercilessly in the middle school years. Hopefully the gate agent did her a favor and her parents will have second thoughts and change it up before the torture begins.

  51. Man, if the mother thinks this is bad, wait until the kid has to go to school, with other kids who have zero filter.

    Your child is not a pet, don’t name it like one. Your child is going end up being a grown adult with a shitty first name.

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