Close shave with fame: Greek TV show beckons for Placer County barberBy: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
COLFAX — Gabriel Friedberg proudly displays sports memorabilia his friend and high-school classmate Tanner Vallejo has given him.
And Vallejo, a Buffalo Bills linebacker, even manages to pop in when he can for a trim at Friedberg’s Colfax barber shop.
But Friedberg will have his own personal brush with fame to talk about soon when he travels to Greece for a chance to meet the half-sister he has never seen in a heart-tugging encounter to be shown on Greek TV.
Friedberg was shocked and a little suspicious when he received a telephone call earlier this month instructing him to get his passport in order and a ticket would arrive confirming a flight that would take him to the Greek capital of Athens.
But with ticket now in hand and more research confirming his luck, he’s looking forward to the TV-facilitated adventure.
Friedberg, 24, grew up in Nevada County and now lives and works in Colfax. He spent several years off and on searching on Facebook and the web after learning that he may have a half-sister in Greece.
Friedberg’s father had returned to Greece while Gabriel was still an infant and died six years after his son’s birth. A search this past year finally turned up a women in Athens, who Friedberg suspected was his long-lost relative.
The two had photos of their fathers and when they exchanged them, it was quickly apparent that they had a match.
Another relative in Greece apparently contacted the Athens TV show “Pame Paketo” — a program now in its 10th season that reunites people, makes guests’ dreams come true and helps people who want to correct past mistakes in their lives.
Friedberg’s confirmation on his airline ticket arrived this past week and he’s set to fly out. The encounter will be filmed and telecast to a Greek audience on what Friedberg has learned is one of the most popular shows in Athens. His half-sister has been kept unaware. Friedberg, who said he knows no Greek, will be the only one on the program speaking English.
Afterward, Friedberg said he will be free to talk about his father with his half-sister and meet with cousins of his now-larger family.
“There are so many questions,” Friedberg said. “I want to meet family, soak it in and enjoy the heck out of it.”