Before I touched down on the golden coast of California without a cent to my name, before I made and lost millions of dollars, only to make it all back, and before evil thugs destroyed my beautiful homeland and killed my people, there was a girl who smelled of flowers – Ted Ngoy
A Tale Of Survival And Success
Donuts aren’t the usual fare for this blog, but an unusual story and remarkable man have changed that. “The Donut King: The Rags to Riches Story of a Poor Immigrant Who Changed The World” relates the story of Ted Ngoy, a Cambodian refugee who arrived in Southern California with his family and no money. He began working, first for the church sponsoring his family’s stay and later taking on work as a gas station attendant. Less than a decade later, Ngoy was a multimillionaire at the helm of a chain of independent donut shops. He became widely known as the Donut King.
“If you had told me years earlier that I – a poor Cambodian, living in a war torn country, who barely spoke English – would one day come to the United States and become an expert in every facet of the donut business, I might have laughed at you,” said Ngoy.
I agreed to read the book to see if it would be an editorial fit with the blog. With skepticism, I opened the book. From the first lines, shown above, I was engrossed in Ngoy’s battle for survival, success and redemption.
The Man Who Has Nothing To Lose
“From a young age, I understood that being the long shot – the man who has nothing and therefore nothing to lose – can be an advantage,” says Ngoy. “When you are the long shot, you allow yourself to take chances. And success in life favors those who take chances. My story is one full of chances.”
Overcome with despair when his beloved’s family forbid them to see each other, Ngoy plunged a knife into his stomach. He survived and with persistence, earned parental consent for marriage.
Ngoy and his family fled Cambodia and the genocide of the Khmer Rouge. Relocating to Southern California he worked at a Winchell’s donut shop and learned the business. There began his climb to the top of the donut world.
At the height of success, his fall from grace came hard after an innocent trip to Las Vegas turned into a crippling vice. He struggled for years with a gambling addition, which eventually cost him his empire and family. This would not be the last time Ngoy lost almost everything. He went from rich to poor not once but three separate times.
Ngoy is a one-time advisor to the prime minister of Cambodia and played an instrumental role in successfully lobbying the US Senate for Most Favored Nation status for Cambodia, which lead to the creation of countless jobs.
“The Donut King” is a great read. You’ll find yourself rooting for the author and wondering how he’ll overcome the many calamities he encounters. Ngoy is using the publication of his memoir to create a seed endowment for an education foundation he is creating, which will provide scholarships to deserving Cambodian children.
The book is available for $14.95 in paperback from Amazon, which also sells a Kindle version.