Fact Check

US Servicemen Refused Service at Dunkin' Donuts

Owner of a Dunkin' Donuts tells U.S. servicemen he will not serve them because "you are killing my countrymen."

Published Sept. 4, 2007

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 26: A Dunkin' storefront sign is seen on October 26, 2020 in New York City. The Dunkin’ Brands, the parent company of the Dunkin’ and Baskin Robbins chains, is in negotiations to sell itself to Inspire Brand, a private equity-backed company.  (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images) (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
The owner of a Dunkin' Donuts franchise told U.S. servicemen he would not serve them because "you are killing my countrymen."


Subject: Americanism

This has made me so mad that I'm writing to all of you.

One of the building secretaries has a nephew in the Armed Forces. He and a buddy were in town, in uniform, and went into the Crown Point Dunkun Donuts for coffee. The owner waited on them and REFUSED to serve them. His exact words (according to her) were "you are killing my countrymen and I will not serve you". They asked him to repeat what he said because they couldn't believe what they'd heard and he repeated it exactly.

The boy's dad was so enraged that he went in and confronted the owner who admitted that was exactly what he said and he meant it. Dad turned to the people in the restaurant and told them what was going on and NO ONE left.

They contacted the corporate office and were told that a letter reprimanding the owner was sent. BIG DEAL.

Just so you know, this man also owns the Dunkun Donut in Merrillville by K-Mart. I, for one, will never stop at either store again - that includes the Crown Point Baskin-Robbins that is also owned by him!

Origins:   The years since the September 11 terrorist attacks of 2001 and the U.S. military invasion of Iraq in 2003 have brought us a panoply of rumors about business owners and employees in the U.S. who have supposedly openly celebrated terrorist attacks on America and/or refused to do business with U.S. servicemen. Most often the businesses targeted by such rumors are gas stations, convenience stores, or other small shops, since those types of businesses are frequently owned, operated, or staffed by immigrants from Middle Eastern countries, or by persons mistakenly assumed by Americans to be Mid-East immigrants).

For example, 2001 saw rumors of employees at a Dunkin' Donuts outlet and a convenience store supposedly celebrating the 9/11 attacks, and 2005-06 saw rumors of service station owners in Tennessee and Illinois allegedly refusing to do business with U.S. servicemen. And, for good measure, 2003 saw multiple versions of a rumor claiming that U.S. Marines had been shunned by the American operators of a number of different businesses.

All of these rumors proved to be false. (In the one case we've found where such a rumor seemingly had some truth to it — a 2004 incident involving a convenience store employee who neglected, deliberately or otherwise, to wait on a U.S. Marine — the business owner didn't dispute the account, promptly fired the employee, and apologized to the parties involved.)

The August 2007 e-mail reproduced above fits this pattern of rumors, telling a tale of two servicemen in uniform reportedly denied service by the owner of a Dunkin' Donuts franchise in Crown Point, Indiana, who rudely told them that "you are killing my countrymen and I will not serve you." We don't yet know how much truth (if any) there might be to this one, although both the CBS television affiliate in Chicago and the Munster, Indiana, Times reported on other military personnel who have patronized the same establishment while in uniform and experienced nothing untoward.

"Hard to believe that something like this might be going on in our community," said John Pitt of the Indiana Army National Guard.

Pitt was among a group of Army National Guard members who arrived in uniform to test the message. "Just to see if there was any validity to it. And we were served. We had great service," he said.

Sgt. Aquiles Rendon, of the U.S. Marine Corps recruiting center in Crown Point, said he has not had problems visiting the Crown Point Dunkin' Donuts while in uniform. Other Marines at the recruitment center on the city square also said they frequent the business and never have experienced any problems. Some acknowledged receiving military discounts from the restaurant.

"It's never happened to me since I've been here," Rendon said of the rumored incident.

The Times also reported that the details of the e-mail were contradictory and could not be substantiated:

"It should be noted that this store is under new ownership (since June 2007) and that such views are unequivocally contrary to her values as well as Dunkin' Donuts," a written statement from the corporate office states.

"We can't even verify if it happened or if something even remotely happened," Crown Point police Patrol Cmdr. Jim Poling said of the rumored situation with the soldiers.

One e-mail alleging the incident took place appears to have originated from Crown Point High School athletic secretary Mary Roth. It claims another school secretary's nephew was in the restaurant with another serviceman and that the two were denied service.

The Times spoke with Roth, and she admitted writing the e-mail. But when asked about her source on the information, she forwarded a reporter to another school secretary who supposedly knew more about the situation. That secretary likewise forwarded the reporter to another source, and ultimately to several other individuals who claimed they heard the incident took place.

None of those contacted by The Times was able to identify an eyewitness to the rumored incident, nor did any of them know the names of the supposed military personnel victims.

Neither Dunkin' Donuts nor Mary Roth has responded to our inquiries.


Davich, Jerry.   "E-mail: Red, White and Untrue."
[Gary, IN] Post-Tribune.   5 September 2007.

Jones, Pamela.   "Donut Shop Owner Allegedly Snubs Military Members."
cbs2chicago.com.   4 September 2007.

The [Munster, IN] Times.   "E-mail Rumors Lead to Harassment."
5 September 2007.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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