My time at the chocolate factory was a wonderful experience. There was a lot of pressure, but I met a lot of great people. Though the chocolate game can be intense, eventually love wins.
I traveled all across the country setting up new stores. Convincing experienced chocolate makers that their fate was safe. Even if we were the new owners.
Most of those making policy in the company had never made chocolate. To them, chocolate was about profit, correctness, and control.
Better to be right than kind.
There was one chocolate maker, I’ll call him Jack, that made an impact on my life. He cared about people. While he would never claim it, he impacted more people for good, than most of the self-professed gurus of chocolate making.
Here is a story about how love wins in the chocolate making game.
The End of the Line
It was busy during the first grand opening membership drive. I was told a few people were coming over Gum Drop Mountain to help us out. He was not informed of this false promise.
They did show up, but they looked around and pronounced they were soon leaving. I took a moment to cool down and smoke a cigarette after hearing the news.
As I came around the end of the line, I noticed him checking for the quality of the chocolates being made. I said some things, he said some things, but the tone of the conversation was that of a fist fight, and not of high quality chocolate.
Traveling With Soul
The next interaction with the man was a 10 hour trip to acquire more chocolate stores. I learned a lot from him on that ride.
We had a conversation, not a lecture. We asked each other questions, and we admitted we might not know some things.
I had ridden that rode before, but in the care of someone who felt like 10 hours was just barely enough time to speak about important things. This was different somehow.
Over the next few years he became a mentor. Sometimes we spoke about chocolate, but sometimes we talked about bigger ideas.
He would let me pry, at times, into his personal life. All of the wins and losses only served to make me more impressed.
When I was pissed, he would listen. If I was perplexed, he would coach.
When you spoke with Jack, you suspected that life was about more than chocolate making. That somehow, chocolate making was not the only goal of a chocolate making company.
How Does Love Win?
I do not make chocolate anymore. In fact, I might be banned from some chocolate making circles.
Every memory of Jack, who is most likely the best chocolate maker in the world, is a good one. Even the confrontation when we first met.
Each time someone from my chocolate making days rings me up or sends a text, I attribute the gift to Jack. In some ways, he taught me to be detached from it all in order to enjoy it all more.
Here’s To Jack
Willy Wonka’s got nothing on Jack. He may still be making chocolate somewhere, but I am sitting around contemplating my next move.
Whatever Jack is doing, I am for him.
Sometimes people disagree on the best way to make chocolate and that is fine. Sometimes chocolate makers get greedy and want to believe they are better than the common folk in Hershey, Pennsylvania. That is fine also.
What I know about chocolate making, in large part, is due to Jack. That people matter. I know this because of the way Jack treated me, not because he spoke of how he treated people.
If we let it, love wins. Even in the chocolate game.