Josie Ajak, a South Sudanese woman who moved to Australia with her parents when she was eight years old, manages a coffee shop in Cairns, far north Queensland.
Last week, while making coffee, Josie was told by a customer that they “refused to be served by a black person”.
“[The woman said] ‘get me a white lady’,” Josie told BuzzFeed News. “[I told her] ‘that’s fine’, with a smile, and she moved aside waiting for a white person. I told my staff that she is racist and that we won’t be serving her, while I continued serving other customers with a smile.”
Josie continued to serve other customers until the woman left. “She looked at me, face angry, looking with [an] evil stare,” said Josie.
Later that day, Josie’s friend and workmate, Jade, posted to Facebook about the interaction.
“To the woman who recently visited Gloria Jeans in Central for coffee and refused to be served by Josie because of the colour of her skin,” wrote Jade. “You’re lucky she didn’t shit in your pie like that woman did in The Help.”
Jade’s post was shared hundreds of times and racked up more than 1,000 comments from people offering their support to Josie.
“I am so humbled,” Josie told BuzzFeed News. “There have been phone calls to my store from all over Australia, from regular white Australians just calling to say ‘hi’, show their support, [and] say they’re proud of me.”