George is a baker who gets up at 3 am every morning to prepare the day’s bread in a bakery he does not own. He lives in a trailer with his daughter. “I’m blessed,” he says with a smile that spreads over his face.
“I lived in San Diego and worked at the counter of a bakery. One day I asked the baker if he’d teach me. I was sixteen at the time making less than minimum wage,” he says.
“So you want to bake bread?” the baker asked.
“I said yes.”
“He looked me over and said, ‘two rules: one, you’re here at 3 am every day, and two, you don’t get paid.'”
For six months George stuck to the baker’s schedule and, while he never made a dime, he learned how to make bread, cookies, and cakes.
Two months later the baker quit and George took over. The owner of the bakery did not pay him what the ex-baker made, but he put in his hours and did the work. Then one day he decided enough was enough and gave his one-month notice. That’s when the owner took notice. She offered him a dollar per hour more if he would stay. George said no. She offered him two dollars more, he still said no.
He packed a bag, and with his daughter, drove to Ashland, Oregon. He had no job, no connections, nada.
“I took a big risk, but it paid off,” he says.
Today he’s the baker at the Village Baker on Main Street. His selection of breads are amazing – blue cheese & green olive, jalapeno & cheddar, artichoke, Parmesan & chive are just a few of the many mouth watering options in the display cabinet.
George has been baking for 20 years now and continues to love it.
“Do you teach classes?” I ask.
“Nope, nobody wants to work that hard,” he says with a shrug.