Then, there is that rare breed of baker that fights boredom by making bread—while trapped in a bakery for two days—to feed the victims of a natural disaster. When news broke earlier this week of the brave bakers stuck inside an El Bolillo in Houston during Hurricane Harvey, it garnered international attention because of their altruism.
According to The Independent, workers at El Bolillo used up nearly "2,000 kilos [4,400 pounds] of flour to bake bread and pan dulce, Mexican sweet bread, throughout the night and day after they were left stranded by the floods over the weekend." It was a ray of humanity in a dark, wet, and windy torrent of nature's brutality, a time when humans can be at their worst, and a testament to the work ethic of the El Bolillo crew.
It even led former Mexican President Vicente Fox to take a jab at President Trump on Twitter.
Solid chirp, but we don't want to get bogged down in politics here. Instead, we called El Bolillo to speak to these heroic bakers, who selflessly made bread to feed their community and first responders. Turns out they were too busy to talk—they still had bread to make.
"We're very busy, so we're going to be done with the interviews for today," a worker at El Bolillo told MUNCHIES. "Or maybe we're not going to speak anymore about that because the bakers are busy talking with the media and they have to make bread! We have more people coming to buy bread, but the bakers are busy giving interviews. We're trying to stop all that. I appreciate you calling, but for now, we're finished. We have people waiting in line, but the bakers can't make bread with all the people coming from the media and all that."
Meagan Michaelis, daughter of El Bolillo owner Kirk Michaelis, corroborated the new-found fame of the bakers. "It's true!" she laughed. "I'm in charge of the social media and I can't keep up with it. I do other stuff at the bakeries like payroll and cash registers and we're just swamped right now."
Fair enough. It has been a historically devastating natural disaster, after all. But Michaelis was kind enough to set the record straight about how bakers at not one, but two, El Bolillo locations (one in Houston proper and one in Pasadena) got busy making bread while they were trapped in their respective bakeries.
"My dad went to pick them up after two days, which is as soon as he could get there in his high jacked-up Jeep," Michaelis recounts. "When they all got to my dad's house, one of them said, 'My brother is at the Pasadena location with three other guys.' So they found their way over there after hours of trying and we got as much bread out as we could to people in the Jeep and bringing it to first responders."
Michaelis says she's proud of the bakers and that they are physically fine, though some of them, like many Houstonians, have endured significant property damage.
"All I can say is that the bakers are incredible people and we're just here like everybody else in Houston. We're just trying to do what we can and what we know how to do and trying to help out the community. The bakers are incredible people, their families are OK. We have a GoFundMe account because we have a lot of employees who lost their cars and apartments but apart from that they're OK. They're still here working and we're just trying to make as much bread as we can and help out."
But helping out means less media and more baking.
"We have media and cameras all over the place, from all over the world: Argentina, Mexico, South America, Africa, England. People are calling from everywhere," says Michaelis. "We appreciate y'all spreading the positivity and all, but nobody can talk right now."