From The Sydney Morning Herald in New South Wales, Australia…
Black barista Nilson Dos Santos finds work after being refused job at Darlinghurst café
By Michael Koziol
It’s an outcome that might be called karma. The cafe owner who refused to employ a black man has closed his business; the man he wouldn’t hire has found full-time work.
Nilson Dos Santos, 37, made international news last week when he was denied a job at Darlinghurst cafe Forbes & Burton because he was black.
“My customers are white and they don’t like to have black people making coffee for them,” owner Steven He told him.
Now Mr Dos Santos has found work at a less discriminatory employer, taking a barista job at Taylor Square bar and cafe Coco Cubano. Thursday was his first day and he said he was happy and excited to be back behind the machine.
“I feel comfortable and [I’m] just really looking forward to a new beginning. I’m very positive about the future,” he said.
Mr Dos Santos is Brazilian but has worked as a barista in Australia for nine years. He was out of full-time work for three months and struggling with bills when he was rejected by the Forbes & Burton cafe. When he told customers what had just happened, some walked out immediately, joined by a member of staff.
Since the news broke, Mr Dos Santos has had about 40 job offers from cafes all over the city.
“I’m really happy to have a new job. I know what it looks like when you don’t have a job,” he said.
Forbes & Burton has now apparently closed and Mr Dos Santos wants to help its former staff members find employment.
“I just felt really, really sad because I keep stopping [to] think about how many people lost their jobs,” he said. “I just broke down and cried because I was really emotional about it.”
Coco Cubano manager Steve Sosah said he was happy to have Mr Dos Santos join his team, which welcomed all-comers.
“Nilson’s got such a great and positive energy,” he said. “It’s all about bringing your own personality to the table, no matter who you are. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings.”
Mr Dos Santos is now enjoying a dose of celebrity in the Darlinghurst area. He has been recognised by many people on the street, including an Aboriginal woman who congratulated him for speaking out against discrimination and asked to take him out to lunch.
“I love you, I’m so proud of you,” she told him.
The Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating Mr He’s conduct. Meanwhile, Mr Dos Santos is looking forward to putting the unpleasantness behind him. He will soon move to Paddington to live with his best friend and is content to be back in the job he loves.
“It’s much more than just the coffee — it’s about working with people, having a friendship with them, making them happy,” he said.