Lifestyle & Belief

Workers trapped by Harvey at a Mexican bakery feed a hungry Houston

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Jorge Agundis and his fellow bakers were trapped in their bakery — so they started cooking.

Credit:

Courtesy of RitaSDJobs/Twitter

Jorge Agundis was baking pan dulce on the overnight shift when the first rains of Hurricane Harvey began to fall. 

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He says the water started to accumulate quickly — in 10 or 15 minutes. 

His thoughts turned to his wife and three young children. Would they be OK? In the four days since the storm landed, the kitchen manager at Houston's El Bolillo Bakery still hasn't been able to get back to the trailer park where he lives with his family.

But Agundis has done more than worry. 

Instead, he's baked. And baked. And baked.

He and two fellow employees at the Mexican bakery's Wayside branch found themselves trapped in the store on Saturday. By the time his night shift was over, the roads outside were impassable. He learned that the freeway to his family's trailer park was underwater.

That's when Agundis's children began calling his cellphone.

"My son's calling me, saying, 'Hey Daddy, where you at?'" Agundis recalls. "I'm worrying, worrying, worrying for my family."

So Agundis and his colleagues decided they'd get busy with the 4,000 pounds of flour they had on hand. They baked day and night for two days straight. 

They filled every shelf in the store's kitchen.

El Bolillo owner Kirk Michaelis saw his employees' handiwork when he was finally able to rescue his staffers Monday morning. 

"I was amazed," Michaelis says. "All the racks were full with bread, just stacked to the ceiling."

City officials picked up more than a thousand bakery items and distributed them to flood victims throughout the city.

Michaelis was amazed by his employees' dedication. 

"Jorge said, 'Well, I couldn't think about my family because it was killing me,'" Michaelis recalls. "He has small children in that trailer, and he was afraid it was going to float away. So he just immersed himself in baking."

In fact, floodwater had risen around Agundis's family home and was about 6 inches from reaching the trailer doors. But the water stopped there.

For the past two nights, Agundis and his colleagues have been staying in Michaelis's home. Agundis isn't as worried now because he knows his family made it through the storm. 

And his boss, Michaelis, says he's doing his best to unite the baker and his family. 

"I have a friend on that side of town that has an airboat. If we can't get [Agundis] there by car, we'll get there by boat and get his family," Michaelis says. "They're more than welcome to come and stay with me."