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Golden Donut: Grandmother still working at family donut shop

Thav Sa in National City has owned Golden Donuts for nearly 40 years.

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. — The definition of the American Dream is different for everyone, maybe it’s building a business, creating a better life for you and your family. 

Thav Sa in National City owns Golden Donuts, and she says she is living the dream, but the path was not the easiest.

Customers come every morning for several reasons, "best coffee in town." Thav Sa has owned Golden Donuts for nearly 40 years. 

"I'm from Cambodia, I’ve been here since 1985," said Thav.

Many come far and wide, and Thav prides herself on her reputation. 

"I come here to work," said Thav. "I do it for my family, kids, and my grandkids, that’s what I do every day, because I'm a single mom." 

Thav works 7 days a week, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. She's experienced some history no one would expect. 

"My country, since 1975, that place was bad," said Thav.

The Khmer Rouge was a brutal regime that ruled Cambodia, from 1975 to 1979. 

As a result, nearly two million people were killed. Thav was just 12-years-old when she escaped her country. 

"She was held captive; she ran on foot from Cambodia to Vietnam then to Thailand," said Sivi Chhuon, Thav's daughter. 

But Chhuon said the lessons she learned from her mom, she has passed down to her kids.

"She basically taught us that life is not easy, you have to work hard for what you have," said Chhuon.