A Somali model who gained national attention for breaking barriers was banned from a Dunkin’ Donuts store and had police called on her — all because she spoke to her family in her native language.
The incident took place in a Portland, Maine, branch of the doughnut store this week. Hamdia Ahmed was in the drive-through and was waiting for someone to take her order when she spoke to a family member in their native language. As the 20-year-old told Maine Public Radio, the employee taking her order then started to yell at her.
“All of a sudden we just hear like, ‘Stop yelling. You’re yelling in my ears!'” Ahmed recalled. “And we were just like, ‘What the hell just happened? What is going on? When were we yelling? We’re having a conversation.'”
The woman tried to explain to the employee, but a manager then came on the microphone and told her they would not be serving her. Ahmed captured this portion of the conversation on the video, showing the employee telling her to leave or else they would call the police.
Ahmed then went inside, where she says an employee called her a “b**ch” and called the police. Officers arrived and told her she would be give a one-year “no trespass notice” for the store and would be arrested if she returned.
Hamdia Ahmed posted the video to social media along with a copy of the trespass order, and it caused a stir in the local community. Some members protested outside the store this week, and the franchise owner met with Ahmed to apologize and lift the trespassing order. The store’s owner also said they would be conducting more training with staff members. Ahmed said she is happy that they made things right.
As the Press Herald noted, the franchise even released a public statement apologizing for the incident.
“Dunkin’ and our franchisees are committed to creating a positive customer service experience for all of our guests,” the company’s emailed statement said. “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.”
As the Teen Vogue noted in a story last year, Hamdi Ahmed gained national attention when she competed in the Miss Maine contest, the first contestant ever to wear a hijab and burkini. The report noted that Ahmed shared a picture from the pageant to Instagram, telling the story of how she was born in Somalia and raised in a refugee camp in Kenya before moving to the United States.