Lindsay Gottlieb, coach of the University of California at Berkeley women’s basketball team, has flown with her son "approx 50 times" with no incident. So she was "appalled," as she wrote in a series of tweets to Southwest Airlines Monday, that during her most recent trip with the one-year-old, an airline employee in Denver insisted she "prove" she was the boy's mother. "She said because we have different last name. My guess is because he has a different skin color," Gottlieb wrote. She is white; her fiance, Patrick Martin, is black; and their son is biracial, the Root reports. Gottlieb tells the Washington Post that both she and Martin were present at the time and that they had their son Jordan Peter Martin's passport. But the Southwest employee claimed that "federal law" required her to view the boy's birth certificate
Gottlieb says that claim is not true; Southwest's own website says birth certificates are only required to verify the age of infants flying as lap children without their own ticket. The agent then, Gottlieb tweeted, "asked me to prove I’m mother with Facebook post. What??" She adds that a woman who witnessed the incident told her she had never been asked to prove she was her child's mother even though they have different last names; "shockingly," Gottlieb tweeted, that woman is not part of a mixed-race family. In a later tweet, she added that she fears this sort of thing is "much more common for people that don’t look like me." She tells KPIX that as a white person, she has "a position of privilege, and a platform where someone is going to listen," so it's her responsibility to call out behavior like this. Southwest has apologized and says it is investigating.