A South Sudanese-born coffee shop manager found herself dealing with a racist customer recently. But rather than becoming angry she responded by focusing on other patrons and nicely leaving the customer to fester in her anger.
Josie Ajak, who works at Gloria Jean’s Coffees in Australia, was approached by a white woman in a wheelchair.
” ‘Get me a white lady,’ ” Ajak recalled the customer saying in an interview with BuzzFeed News Monday..
“[I responded] ‘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.”
Eventually, the woman grew tired of waiting for her “white lady” and left, but not before looking at Ajak with a “face angry” and an “evil stare.”
Jade Arevalo shared Ajak’s story on Facebook earlier this month, calling out the woman who refused service from her friend because of her race.
“To the woman who recently visited Gloria Jeans in Central for coffee,” the post began. “And refused to be served by Josie because of the color of her skin; you’re lucky she didn’t s— in your pie like that woman did in The Help.”
“Josie is one of the most kind [sic] and friendly people you could meet but irrespective of her character, she did not deserve to be excluded like this,” the message continued. “What makes it worse is that this nasty lady who asked for another staff member travels in a wheelchair and could quite possibly understand a life made difficult by others assuming less of her.”
Arevalo then encouraged customers to visit Gloria Jean’s to order coffee from Ajak. After thanking a fellow patron for defending the manager, Arevalo completed the post with the hashtag #buyacoffeefromjosie.
To the woman who recently visited Gloria Jeans in Central for coffee and refused to be served by Josie because of the…
Posted by Jade Arevalo on Saturday, October 8, 2016
Since Arevalo shared Ajak’s story, the post generated 19,000 reactions and thousands of comments.
Loretta Green surmised the customer didn’t care that a Black person possibly prepared her meal.
Jasmine Felix praised Ajak for reacting in the “best way” to “ignorant people.”
Meanwhile, Linzi Clare Sureka Ibrahim complimented the way Ajak dealt with racial discrimination.
In reaction to the support Ajak received, she thanked commenters on Facebook last week.
I would like to thank every kind soul who has shown me love and support since I was the target of racial discrimination…
Posted by Josie Ajak on Monday, October 10, 2016
“I would like to thank every kind soul who has shown me love and support since I was the target of racial discrimination last week,” she wrote. “I have been inundated with so many beautiful messages from both friends and complete strangers that have left me feeling so blessed to be who I am.”
“To everybody who has ever been refused service because of their skin color, this is for you,” Ajak concluded.