Lindsay Gottlieb, the University of California’s women’s basketball coach, says she’s “appalled” with Southwest after one of the airline’s employees allegedly asked her to prove she was the mother of her biracial son before getting on a flight.
“I’m appalled that after approx 50 times flying with my 1-year-old son[,] ticket counter personnel told me that I had to ‘prove’ that he was my son despite having his passport,” Gottlieb, who is white, wrote on Twitter, according to KPIX. “She said we have a different last name. My guess is because he has a different skin color.”
Gottlieb shared her story on Sunday night, after allegedly being questioned about her son before a flight leaving from the Denver International Airport, according to KPIX.
She added that she was asked not only for a birth certificate as a matter of “federal law,” but also to pull up a Facebook post that would further prove she was mom to 1-year-old son Jordan Peter Martin, whom she and fiancé Patrick Martin welcomed last May.
Gottlieb didn’t think the boy’s last name had much to do with the Southwest agent’s need for proof, either.
“The mother next to me said she’s never been asked for proof” when traveling with a child who had a different last name, Gottlieb tweeted. “Not shockingly, not mixed-race family,” she added of the mother she spoke with.
Southwest has since reached out to Gottlieb to “address her concerns,” according to a statement the carrier shared with Fox News.
“We’re looking into this specific interaction, and we have engaged with the Customer directly to address her concerns,” the airline wrote. “Our Employees are well regarded for their Hospitality and we always strive for the best experience for anyone who entrusts us with their travel.”
Gottlieb told KPIX she doesn’t hold the entire airline accountable for the actions of one employee, but that she felt the need to say something on behalf of her son.
“I do feel like as a white female, with a position of privilege, and a platform where someone is going to listen, it is my responsibility to say, 'Hey, this happened, this isn’t OK,” she told KPIX 5. “And maybe somewhere down the line that helps my son, who is biracial and will be for his entire life.”