Dunkin’ Donuts Worker Calls the Police on a Somali Model and Her Family and Tells Them to Leave the Store
Leah McDonald, Daily Mail, October 18, 2018
A Somali student told how she and her family were refused service and told to leave a Dunkin’ Donuts store in Maine for apparently ‘yelling’ in their native language.
The store owner met Hamdia Ahmed, 20, a Portland college student and activist, and apologized to her Muslim family after she criticized the company on social media on Wednesday.
Ahmed felt that the employee discriminated against her and two relatives for speaking Somali as they waited to order coffee at the drive-thru of St John Street Dunkin’ Donuts on Monday.
Ahmed, who is also a model, said she and her relatives drove to the coffee shop around 12.30 pm and waited for a store employee to ask for their order.
As the family chatted in Somali in the car, a woman’s voice crackled through the speaker and admonished them for yelling, Ahmed said.
‘All of a sudden we heard a woman say, ‘stop yelling, stop yelling, and We’re like what’s happening.
‘We’re just having a conversation. We were talking in Somali. She told us she’s not going to take our order and for us to leave and she was going to call the police’.
Ahmed, a refugee from Somalia who arrived in the United States more than a dozen years ago, has emerged in recent years as an outspoken anti-racism social justice activist and organizer.
After the argument in the drive-thru lane, Ahmed said she parked her car and went inside the store to speak with someone.
A store employee called Portland police, and after an officer spoke to Ahmed and store employees, the police issued Ahmed a no-trespass notice barring her from returning to the store for a year.
Ahmed claims that she was called a ‘b***h’ by another employee before the woman called the police.
The officer listed the cause of the no-trespass notice as ‘disturbance – yelling at staff’.
Ahmed posted an image of the no-trespass notice to her Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as posting a video showing parts of the encounter.
The video recording does not depict the initial exchange at the drive-thru kiosk, only a portion of the argument that followed.
‘You’re going to disrespect me because I speak a different language than you?’, Ahmed said in the recording. Is that what it is?’.
‘It has nothing to do with your language,’ the employee said through the loud-speaker.
‘You can leave. I don’t want to hear it. I’m done with it.
‘You can leave, or I’ll call the cops’.
Following the online post, Ahmed organized a protest Tuesday night outside the store and about 12 people showed up to demonstrate.
The owner of the St. John Street store, Dave DaRosa, met with Ahmed Wednesday and also apologized, Ahmed said.
They discussed how to avoid these types of encounters in the future and he rescinded the no-trespass order, according to Ahmed.
‘He gave a sincere apology. He acknowledged that the police should have never been called’.
Ahmed, a University of Southern Maine student who has been an outspoken anti-racist activist in Portland, said she felt compelled to speak up and publicize her encounter through social media.
In December last year, she became the first Miss Maine contestant to wear a hijab and burkini during the pageant.
‘I can’t just ignore stuff like this because that would mean I’m allowing it to happen,’ she said.
In a statement, Dunkin Donuts said: ‘Dunkin’ and our franchisees are committed to creating a positive customer service experience for all of our guests.
‘The franchisee who owns and operates the store has confirmed he has met with the guest, sincerely apologized to her for the poor experience and is working on providing additional customer service training to his store crew.’
[Editor’s Note: According to the New York Post account, this is Miss Ahmed’s second attempt at a shakedown.]