Lindsay Gottlieb, the head women’s basketball coach at the University of California, is in the headlines after airing her grievances with Southwest Airlines on social media. Gottlieb says she was flying with the airline from Denver to Oakland when she was asked by an employee at the ticket counter to “prove” that her one-year-old biracial son was her child.
“I’m appalled that after approx 50 times flying with my 1-year-old son, ticket counter personnel told me I had to ‘prove’ that he was my son, despite having his passport. She said because we have different last name. My guess is because he has a different skin color,” Gottlieb wrote on Twitter. “She first asked for proof with birth certificate. She then said it’s a ‘federal law’ (not true) but asked me to prove I’m the mother with a Facebook post. What? Mother next to me said she’s never been asked for proof despite a different last name… not shockingly, not mixed face fam.
“It was demeaning and insensitive, not to mention inefficient. Would have missed the flight if it was not delayed. I would advise better training for employees to avoid this happening to others.”
Gottlieb was traveling with her son and fiance Patrick Martin. They had initially traveled to show their support for one of her players who was in Colorado at the Team USA basketball trials. Southwest Airlines has since apologized in a statement to KPIX 5-San Francisco.
“We’re looking into this specific interaction, and we have engaged with the customer directly to address her concerns,” the statement read. “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 shared a photo of her fiance and child once they were safely on board the plane.
Last year, I missed my first Final 4 in 18 years because I was too pregnant to fly. Fast forward a year and we’re off to Columbus with this little dude. What a year. Can’t wait to see everyone @wbca1981 pic.twitter.com/OYQjmqD1iU
— Lindsay Gottlieb (@CoachLindsayG) March 28, 2018
“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 okay,” Gottlieb told KPIX 5 after the incident. “And maybe somewhere down the line, that helps my son, who is bi-racial and will be for his entire life.
As head coach of the Cal Golden Bears, Gottlieb has led the program to a 159-76 record, six NCAA Tournament appearances, and one Final Four run.