It was normal: Lindsay Gottlieb, who trains the Berkeley women's basketball team at the University of California, was about to fly with her 1-year-old son.
But her family then had what Gottlieb called an "unpleasant and hurtful" interaction with a Southwest Airlines employee at a ticket counter at Denver International Airport: on Monday she said the employee had asked Gottlieb to "prove" that she was the mother of her biracial son after she had seen the toddler's passport
"We had a passport that verified the age and identity of our son, and both parents were present," Gottlieb said in a statement to the Post on Tuesday , "But continuing to be pushed to prove he was my son made him feel disrespectful and motivated by more than worrying about his well-being."
On Twitter, Gottlieb wrote that the employee claimed she requested further documentation from her and her son's relationship because the boy had a different surname.
"I suspect that he has a different skin color," wrote Gottlieb, who is white.
She added that a mother next to her told her that she had never been asked for "evidence" when traveling with her child, who also had a different surname but came from the same race. "Not scary, not mixed face fam," added Gottlieb of the other mother.
Gottlieb and her fiancé Patrick Martin welcomed the one-year-old Jordan Peter Martin last May. Jordan has often flown with his mother and basketball team this season, and Gottlieb wrote on Twitter that she had flown with him about fifty times before.
Gottlieb reported the incident to Southwest Airlines via Twitter, saying that officials apologized quickly , She said the airline officials told her that they would make the incident a "coaching" moment for their employees – an indication of Gottlieb's coaching job.
Southwest said in a statement that she had contacted Gottlieb to voice her concerns and that the airline apologized. If our interaction made this family uncomfortable. "
" That's never our intention, "officials said.
Officials added that Southwest's policy is to verify that lap children are younger than 2 by checking a birth certificate or government issue ID, and that employees
Gottlieb said the incident made her aware that the type of interrogation she was experiencing was likely to be common among non-white families. "While it's exciting and Emotionally, I realized that this was just a day in my life when I was feeling unwell and our family felt "less than" while others saw similar situations on a daily basis, "she said I hope that this reporting can serve as a learning opportunity and that all families, no matter how "traditional" they look or not, treat with dignity and respect
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