A woman attempting to board a Southwest Airlines flight with her 1-year-old biracial son said she was prohibited when an airline employee asked her to “prove” the child belonged to her.
“She said because we have different last name. My guess is because he has a different skin color,” Lindsay Gottlieb tweeted.
Despite having her son’s passport, the Cal women’s basketball coach was stopped from boarding her Denver to California flight. Gottlieb was traveling with the boy’s father and her fiance, Patrick Martin who is black.
It didn’t take long for Southwest Airlines to realize the error in their ways and issue a public apology to the University of California, Berkley head coach.
“We have reached out to Ms. Gottlieb directly to address her concerns and will utilize the situation as a coaching opportunity for our employee,” Southwest said in a statement. “We apologize if our interaction made this family uncomfortable — that is never our intention.”
Gottlieb said it was nice of Southwest Airlines to apologize, but says the encounter still stings.
“I felt that in this situation it was my responsibility to say ‘Hey, this isn’t ok,’” Gottlieb said in a statement to The Associated Press. “I hope the coverage this has received can serve as a learning opportunity and that all families — regardless of how ‘traditional’ they may or may not look — are treated with dignity and respect.”
Martin, Gottlieb and their child eventually boarded the flight and made it to the destination.