Stranded bakery truck distributes bread to dozens of motorists also stuck on a Virginia highway

In an emergency, a bakery company stepped in to help motorists stuck along Interstate 95 for 50-miles in Virginia because of a winter storm.

The huge storm had affected multiple states and left more 300,000 people without power.

Maryland couple Casey Holihan and John Noe were driving from Ellicott City, Maryland, to visit John’s family in Newport, North Carolina. They wanted to say goodbye before John was sent to Germany with the U.S. Air Force.


Although their journey was supposed to take five hours, it turned into a nightmare of 36 hours when they were stuck in an icy traffic jam.

Due to heavy snowfall, jack-knifed tractor trailers, and four inches of ice, the couple had not been moved in the southbound lanes of the interstate for nearly 21 hours.

Casey Holihan and John Noe with a loaf of bread given by Schmidt Baking Company

In temperatures dropping to the 20s, thousands of people spent the night in cars. Many of them had small children, elderly, and pets, and they all hadn’t eaten or drank water for almost a whole day.

“It was definitely a very scary situation and we had no idea how long we would be there for,” John told WBAL.

The couple hadn’t eaten for 37 hours before they saw a Schmidt Baking Company truck standing in front of them on Tuesday morning. The couple stared longingly at the bread pictures on the truck’s back doors, wondering when their hungry stomachs would be satisfied.

Casey Holihan holding four bags of bread by Schmidt Baking Company

Hungry and frustrated, Casey and John decided to call the company’s customer service line to ask if it would be possible for the truck driver to distribute some loaves of bread to them and other stranded passengers.

They didn’t expect to hear anything back, but 20 minutes later, they received a personal call from one of the owners of H&S Bakery, which owns Schmidt Baking Company.

Chuck Paterakis told Casey that he had directed the truck’s driver, Ron Hill, to open up the back and distribute loaves of bread and rolls to the hungry motorists.

Ron and the couple jumped out of their cars to pass out 300 food parcels to approximately 50 cars in an hour.

Chuck Paterakis of H&S Bakery
The Island School

“We just kept giving it out until we couldn’t walk anymore because it was so freezing,” Casey said. “It felt incredible just hearing people say thank you and hearing people just so relieved to finally have food in their car, food in their system and in their kids’ system. It was a really incredible feeling.”

John and Casey were so hungry, they ate the entire bag of potato roll. Casey said it was the “best thing” she had eaten in her entire life.

To Chuck, giving out the contents of their truck was an “easy decision.”

“I’m so pleased that the people who were hungry, that hadn’t eaten for the past 24 hours, had a chance, even if it was bread, had the chance to fill their stomachs up. It was very satisfying for me. It was something I will always remember,” he said.

Ron Hill distributing bread to nearby vehicles stuck on I-95 in Virginia

Casey thanked Schmidt Baking Company for their “humanity and compassion” in a Facebook post.

“This was one of the kindest moments I have ever witnessed. Thank you Schmidt,” she wrote.

Their dire circumstances were made more bearable by the distribution of bread.

“The company definitely could have made a profit off the bread but instead chose to help the people around them,” Casey said of Schmidt Baking Company. “That is just so incredible that someone chose humanity over profit, especially in a situation that people were so desperate.”

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