Dunkin Donuts apologized to a college student after one of its employees called the police following an argument in the drive-thru lane.
Hamdia Ahmed, 20, said she felt that the employee discriminated against her and two relatives for speaking Somali as they waited to order coffee at the St. John Street Dunkin’ Donuts on Monday afternoon.
“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 on Facebook. “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.”
The University of Southern Maine student went inside the store to inquire why the employee had called the police.
“I also wanted to let this woman know that her behavior was unacceptable,” Ahmed tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “And I decided to wait for the police.”
Ahmed says one customer left the store saying, “I’m not buying coffee here — this is straight-up racism.”
Ahmed said Police initially issued a no-trespass order that was later rescinded after the franchise owner apologized.
“The only crime we committed was speaking in our native language,” wrote Ahmed. “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.”
Ahmed also posted a Facebook video of the argument. “Don’t talk to me like that when I was talking to my family in my language,” she says into the drive-thru microphone. “You’re going to disrespect me because I speak a different language than you? Is that what it is?”
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’ll call the cops.”
Guys, I need your help. Today my family and I want @dunkindonuts. Before we even place our order through the dr thru, we were told to leave for speaking in our native language. We were called a “ bitch.” The police were called on us, and now can’t go back their. I am disgusted. pic.twitter.com/A1foloR1ma
— Hamdia Ahmed (@hamdia_ahmed) October 15, 2018
Store owner Dave DaRosa apologized to Ahmed on Wednesday after revoking the “No Trespass” order.
“He gave a sincere apology,” Ahmet told the Press Herald. “He acknowledged that the police should have never been called.”
Dunkin Donuts’ corporate office issued the follwing statement on the matter: “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.”
“I appreciate their apology but what I really wanted to get out of the meeting is I want training for their workers,” Ahmed told the Press Herald. “Because they can’t treat people like that, and the police should have never been called.”