Josie Ajak, a South Sudanese woman who moved to Australia with her parents when she was 8 years old, manages a coffee shop in Cairns, far-north Queensland.
Last week, while making coffee, Ajak was told by a customer that they "refused to be served by a black person".
"[The woman said] 'Get me a white lady,'" Ajak 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 Ajak.
Later that day, Ajak'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 Ajak.
"I am so humbled," Ajak 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."
Two days after the incident, Ajak thanked all the people who had sent her messages of support and praise.
"Regardless of which colour, gender, age, size, and shape you are, we are all deserving of love and should be treated accordingly," she wrote.
"Racism happens every day, to so many people. Unfortunately not enough ... people are actually speaking up about it."
"We are all just human and every individual who gives respect and kindness is worthy of it back."
Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Contact Brad Esposito at email@example.com.
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