• Dunkin' Donuts apologizes to Somali woman after employee refuses service, calls police

    By: Jared Leone, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:
    PORTLAND, Maine -

    A woman said she was refused service at a Maine Dunkin' Donuts after speaking Somali with her family as they waited in the drive thru line. 

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    Hamdia Ahmed, 20, recorded a brief video of the interaction she had Monday with the shift manager and posted it on social media.

    "You’re going to disrespect me ‘cause I speak a different language than you? Is that what it is?" Ahmed emphatically said in the video. 

    The employee responds:

    "It has nothing to do with your language. You can leave. I don’t want to hear it. I’m done with it. You can leave or I will call the cops.”

    Ahmed said she went into the store to defuse the situation, but the employee called police who issued a no trespassing notice for “disturbance -- yelling at staff,” the Portland Press Herald reported.

    The order was rescinded after the store owner intervened. 

    Dave DaRosa met with Ahmed and her family Wednesday and apologized. 

    "I am working on a plan to help ensure this does not happen again and will keep you updated,” DaRosa said in a letter that Ahmed posted on social media. 

    Ahmed, a student, activist and model, immigrated with her family to the United States in 2005 after escaping the Somali Civil War. She is studying political science at University of Southern Maine and is an outspoken anti-racist activist. She has spoken before the United Nations. She was the first Muslim woman to throw the first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game. In 2017, she became the first Muslim woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Maine USA pageant.

    "I’m proud of myself for speaking up against this because it’s not right," Ahmed told NBC News. "My family did not deserve to be treated that way, and I hope I started a conversation about why the police are called on black people for no reason."

    This is not the first time Ahmed has faced discrimination at a coffee shop. 

    Ahmed, who does not drink alcohol, ordered a drink at a Starbucks on Sept. 14, and asked the barista to check the alcohol content on the vanilla syrup. The employee laughed and rolled her eyes in response, Ahmed told WCSH

    At the time, Ahmed contacted Starbucks, which apologized and said they would investigate the incident. 

    Ahmed told WCSH the response was adequate and hoped sharing her story prompted a larger discussion on ending discrimination.

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