This is Carolina: Surprise money in jar is ‘cherry on top’ for baker beating cancer

Updated: Aug. 19, 2020 at 6:57 PM EDT
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SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s not always easy calling somewhere home without your family nearby, but try adding a cancer diagnosis on top of that.

That’s what happened to a longtime baker at one of the Grand Strand’s most well-known bakeries.

Lucky for him, his work family and customers stepped in.

“I like it because we have a family, a company, good company, good friends,” Carlos Rivera told WMBF News.

He’s been baking at Benjamin’s Bakery and Coffee Roasters in Surfside Beach for almost 15 years. It hasn’t gotten old, not even during his fight with cancer.

“We are like a big family here. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November 2019. So, ever since that happened we started a donation jar for him to kind of donate and help him get through this tough time. Over the weekend we were very blessed to discover there were two $100 bills in there. So, it really meant a lot to him, to us, that our customer base is that committed,” Rivera’s friend and co-worker, Bobbie Cox, said.

She said they visited Rivera in the hospital while he battled his illness. His daughter also came in from Pennsylvania to be with him, they said.

In less than a year of being on the Benjamin’s Bakery counter, the jar has raised $800 for Rivera. It’s helped pay a lot of bills.

“We have a lot of loyal customers and we take them on tours of the bakeries, so they get to meet the bakers, you know, they appreciate the product that it’s made fresh daily and understand the commitment that our bankers contribute to running the business,” Cox explained.

Rivera said he’s happy to be back at work, and he loves baking bagels for people in the morning. He said he has two more chemo treatments left before being cancer-free.

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