Dunkin' Doughnuts apologizes after an employee called the police on a family because they were speaking Somali

Elena Bailoni/Spoon University
  • Hamdia Ahmed said she and her family had the police called on them at a Dunkin’ Doughnuts in Portland, Maine, on Monday.
  • It came after an employee asked the family to “stop yelling” while they were speaking Somali to one another.
  • Store owner Dave DaRosa apologised to Ahmed on Wednesday and acknowledged that the police should not have been called.

Dunkin’ Doughnuts apologised after one of its employees refused service to a Somali woman and her family before calling the police because the group was speaking in another language.

Hamdia Ahmed told the Portland Press Herald that she and her family were at a Dunkin’ Doughnuts drive-thru on Monday in Portland, Maine, when the incident occurred.

The family members were speaking Somali to each other when a worker told them to “stop yelling” and said she was calling the police.

“We were speaking in our native language before we even spoke through the microphone to place our order. Out of nowhere, the shift manager screamed at us and said, ‘Stop yelling, leave or I’m calling the cops,'” Ahmed wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post seen by Yahoo Lifestyle. “I was surprised to hear this because we weren’t even doing anything. The shift manager told us to leave and she was calling the police. She also refused to take our order.”

Ahmed, a student at the University of Southern Maine, said she went inside to talk to the employee about the incident before police arrived.

“The only crime we committed was speaking in our native language,” Ahmed wrote in the Facebook post. “Languages come in a different tone and this woman felt like we were a threat to her. This is America and everyone should have the right to speak in their native language. Unbelievable.”

After speaking with police officers, Ahmed, a refugee from Somalia who has lived in the United States for more than a decade, was issued a no-trespass order for “disturbance and yelling at staff,” but the order was later revoked.

Store owner Dave DaRosa apologised to Ahmed on Wednesday and acknowledged that the police shouldn’t have been called.

A corporate Dunkin’ Doughnuts representative also apologised and released a statement on the incident.

The statement 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 apologised to her for the poor experience and is working on providing additional customer service training to his store crew.”

Earlier this month, employees at a Dunkin’ Doughnuts in Syracuse, New York, were fired after they poured a bucket of water on a homeless man who was inside their store charging his phone.

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