MD truck driver handed out 500 loaves of bread to people stuck on I-95
Feeding the 500: Maryland bakery truck driver goes viral after handing out loaves of bread to snowed-in motorists on two-mile stretch of Virginia’s I-95 during snowstorm
- Ron Hill, of Harford County, was inside his Schmidt Baking Company truck praying and thinking about the exhaustion motorists were enduring
- He was approached by Casey Holihan, who with her husband John was stranded just behind Hill’s truck and had called the company’s customer service
- Twenty minutes later, H&S co-owner and retail distributor of Schmidt Baking Company, Chuck Paterakis, asked Holihan to hand the phone to Hill
- Paterakis then ordered Hill to give as many loaves of bread as it was needed to the starving and frustrated motorists
- ‘It was the best loaf of bread I have ever eaten in my entire life,’ said Holihan. ‘We can’t stop raving about the humanity of everybody’
- ‘When we said it was free, some of them were almost moved to tears. They were just so relieved,’ Holihan said about the exhausted motorists
Published: 16:13, 6 January 2022 | Updated: 16:53, 6 January 2022
In a now-viral video, Ron Hill, 60, can be seen gingerly walking over the ice-covered roadway to deliver bread from his Schmidt Baking Company truck early Tuesday morning – after Monday’s crippling snowstorm turned a 50-mile stretch of I-95 between Washington, DC and Richmond, Virginia, into a parking lot for more than 24 hours.
Hill, of Harford County near Baltimore, was moved to hand over some 500 packages of Potato Rolls and Old Tyme split-top wheat bread after getting a knock on his driver’s door from another trapped motorist.
‘I was weeping and didn’t understand why. I was thinking, ”Should I go in the back of this truck, start handing out bread, and catch the weight later?” Hill told Baltimore Magazine.
‘As I was sitting at the steering wheel thinking about it, I saw a lady walk up to the side of my truck.’
That lady was Casey Holihan, 23, who was stranded with her husband, John Noe, 24, a few cars behind Hill’s truck.
With her stomach grumbling, Holihan got the idea to call the company after seeing schmidtbaking.com listed on Hill’s truck.
Maryland bakery driver Ron Hill steps out of his truck to help feed hundreds of motorists trapped along two-mile stretch of traffic-clogged Virginia highway
Casey Holihan, who with her husband John Noe, was stranded just behind Hill’s truck and had called the company’s customer service
Hundreds of motorists were stranded in freezing temperatures along a 50-mile stretch of I-95
‘We kind of called them on a whim,’ Holihan said. ‘We definitely did not think anything would come of it.’
Less than 20 minutes later, H&S co-owner and retail distributor of Schmidt Baking Company, Chuck Paterakis, called Holihan and asked her to hand the phone to Hill.
Paterakis then ordered Hill to give as many loaves of bread as was needed to the starving and frustrated motorists.
‘It was the best loaf of bread I have ever eaten in my entire life,’ Holihan said. ‘We can’t stop raving about the humanity of everybody.’
‘After almost 21 hours of being stuck on 95 South, sleeping here overnight, not having access to food or water, and all of the nearest towns being out of power we were tired, frustrated, and hungry,’ Holihan wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.
The couple was traveling from their home in Ellicott City, Maryland, to visit family in North Carolina before they leave for Germany next week for Noe’s job in the Air Force.
‘Many of the people stuck out here had small children, were elderly, had pets in the car, and hadn’t eaten in almost a whole day,’ she added, after they fed those trapped for about two miles.
Hill, an independent truck driver for 14 years, said he’d never seen the traffic nightmare on I-95.
‘It was just different.
I’m a veteran so I’m pretty much prepared for anything,’ he told Yahoo News.
He said was worried about running out of diesel as he kept his truck running to stay warm. He slept two hours and had nothing to eat.
When there were still no signs of relief when morning came, Hill said he went into the back of his truck to pray.
‘Tears started rolling down my eyes,’ he said.
Those tears turned into a smile after the sudden act of kindness cheered up motorists who had been stuck on the highway for almost an entire day, knowing more hours would pass until they could go home.
Hill hands out loaves of bread to those trapped on a snow-clogged Virginia highway
‘We were going up to windows holding bread up, and many people were like, ”How much money do you want for it?” When we said it was free, some of them were almost moved to tears. They were just so relieved,’ Holihan told Baltimore Magazine.
Just hours before, the same overwhelmed motorists had been honking at each other with frustration.
‘But then you remember that these are real people.
They have lives. We got to talk to some of them and pet their dogs and ask them about where they were going. It was a little pocket of humanity and community that we created on that stretch of I-95 that won’t be forgotten,’ Holihan added.
Paterakis said the truck was headed from its headquarters in the Fells Point section of Baltimore to a distribution center in Norfolk, Virginia.
The family-run Maryland bakery was founded by Greek immigrants in 1943.
‘This company is incredible. This bread truck was on the way to being delivered. The company definitely could have made a profit off the bread but instead chose to help the people around them,’ Holihan told local news station WBAL, ‘That is just so incredible that someone chose humanity over profit, especially in a situation that people were so desperate.’
‘Shout out to Casey and John who helped get the bread rolling. And to the intrepid Ron Hill, one of our contract drivers, who’s got a heart as big as a bread bowl,’ Schmidt Baking Company tweeted on Wednesday
John Noe joined Hill and his wife in giving away loaves of bread to stranded motorists
Chuck Paterakis, owner of the family-run Maryland bakery, gave the go-ahead for Ron Hill to hand out bread to trapped motorists
Drivers stuck in the jam were not only dealing with dropping temperatures, but also with the lack of access to food and water.
‘When I heard from Casey, all of these things were going through my mind, but the main thing was that this is our core value,’ Paterakis told Baltimore Magazine. ‘We’re cultured to help out in situations when things are desperate.’
Paterakis, whose company has donated roughly three million loaves to charity organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, estimates that about 500 loaves were given away to motorists on Tuesday.
‘From what I can gather it was very icy, slippery, and they were on somewhat of a hill,’ Paterakis said.
‘There were a lot of people who were hungry, but didn’t want to get out of the car or open the door because they had limited gas and didn’t want the heat to escape,’ he added.
‘Shout out to Casey and John who helped get the bread rolling.
And to the intrepid Ron Hill, one of our contract drivers, who’s got a heart as big as a bread bowl,’ Schmidt Baking Company tweeted on Wednesday.
Hundreds of motorists were stranded in freezing temperatures along the 50-mile stretch of I-95 on Tuesday.
Police said part of the road became impassable when tractor-trailers jackknifed in a winter storm.
The interstate fully reopened Tuesday night after more than a day of blockage.
In an aerial view, traffic creeps along Virginia Highway 1 after being diverted away from I-95 after it was closed due to a winter storm