Mum becomes target of online abuse after daughter's name mocked by airline staff

Mum Traci Redford (right) has been criticised online for naming her daughter Abcde after her story went viral. Photo: ABC7
Mum Traci Redford (right) has been criticised online for naming her daughter Abcde after her story went viral. Photo: ABC7

A mother has been criticised for naming her daughter Abcde after the story of her being “laughed at” by an airline staffer went viral.

Traci Redford, from Texas in the US, said she was at California’s John Wayne Airport when a Southwest Airlines gate agent started “pointing and laughing” at her daughter.

She said the agent even took a photo of Abcde’s (pronounced “Ab-city”) boarding pass and posted it to their Facebook page. The airline later apologised.

But while the family had a lot of support after the name shaming, many slammed the mother for choosing the rare name for her child.

You can’t tell me you name your poor kid Abcde and not expect some kind of flack,” one woman wrote on Facebook.

Another said: “Can you imagine the bullying she will get in school because you decided to name your child that. Come on.”

History of the name Abcde

According to US storytelling channel Vocativ, 328 babies have been named Abcde in the United States since 1990. All of them have been female.

The name is believed to be a primarily Hawaiian phenomenon, with the first five Abcdes’ from 1990 born there.

Click below to see the most popular baby names of 2018.

Many online commenters believe the rare name could cause issues for the child in future, especially on paperwork.

She’s going to have a helluva time getting a job when they see that name on a resume,” one person wrote.

A Texas mum claims Southwest Airlines staff agent 'mocks' girl's Abcde name.
Ms Redford’s five-year-old is named Abcde – pronounced “ab-city”. Photo: ABC7

‘Like having the name John Doe’

Some even likened it to the name “John Doe,” which is used for an unidentified corpse. In 2009, a man who shared the moniker revealed his struggle with airport security.

“I have to sit in the office, every time,” Mr Doe told the NY Times.

“I say my name is John Doe and they say, ‘No, what’s your real name?’ and I pull out my ID.”

While Ms Redford has copped a flurry of criticism online, some have jumped to her support, saying the point was not the name, but that an airline staffer made fun of her.

“I agree it’s an odd name but come on. If your first response is to blame the mum you obviously weren’t raised right,” one person said.

Ms Redford said she found out the agent had shared a picture of Abcde’s boarding pass after someone else got in touch with her, saying they reported it.

In a statement, Southwest Airlines offered a “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,” it read.

“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 emphasise our expectations for all employees.”

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