by Erin Brose, sophomore writing coach
It’s astonishing how quickly free food can turn a high school student’s day around. In the halls of Minnetonka High School, passing a joyful student with a bagel in hand is no rare occasion. For this, we thank Minnetonka’s very own junior, Alec Gougebas, more formally known as Bagel Boy. Amidst the usual passing time rush, while you may be headed to your next class, Bagel Boy is most likely swarmed by hungry students, juggling overflowing bags of bagels as echoes of “Cinnamon sugar please!” radiate through the halls.
Alec hands out dozens of these rings of chewy, tantalizing goodness from asiago parmesan, to blueberry, cinnamon sugar and so many more. And he does so free of charge in the halls, every day. Alec has given out anywhere from two dozen to two hundred bagels in a single day!
Anyone who brings as much joy as Bagel Boy does to Minnetonka students deserves to be commended, and I thought I could use the blog as a platform to do so. I’d like to put a spotlight on the greatness Bagel Boy has brought for not only our taste buds, but for our environment at school. Bagel Boy is a welcoming friend to those he encounters, and brings light to this school with his generous acts of kindness. So, curious about what it takes to give out such an extreme amount of bagels every day, I asked him a few questions.
How and when did it all start, how did you come to your name “Bagel Boy”?
That’s a great question! ‘Bagel boy’ started early September, after my good friend Jean-Luc persuaded me to get a job at Bruegger’s Bagels! Put simply, I couldn’t have done any of this without him! (He calls me Bagel Boy, and I call him The Bagel Kingpin!)
And so, after a week of struggling to apply cream cheese and bringing bagels in for my friends, one of them suggested I post about it on Instagram. And so on September 17th, one “TOTALLY FREE, JUST ASK” later, ‘’Bagel Boy” began! As for the name, I can’t remember exactly who coined the term, but it spread quickly! Now people who I’ve never met call me that! …Including my Spanish teacher, I swear I could put ‘Bagel Boy’ as my name and still get a grade back!
What’s your favorite thing about being Bagel Boy/Why do you do what you do?
My favorite thing is the smile that a simple bagel can give someone. It’s a little cheesy but honestly that’s it! I’ve given bagels to teachers, principles, (and most certainly students!) and without fail, everytime, it makes them smile. I do it to spread positivity and make people’s day! I’ve gotten so many thankful messages from people and countless thank-you’s that make doing it worth it, every time! I’ve also met so many incredible people that I can’t list them all!
How do you get such a superfluous amount of bagels?
Oh man, I get asked this by almost everyone I’ve given a bagel to! Let’s see:
Every night at Brueggers, we bag up all the bagels that we don’t sell throughout the day. The ‘Last Nights Bagels’ sit out during the next day and people can buy them for about half price! (Only $3.79!) Depending on the day, not all of our ‘Last Nights’ sell, so at night when we go to do the next day’s ‘Last Nights’ they get thrown out! (The exception to this is Cinnamon Sugar bagels, they get thrown out every night as they stick to the bags!) That’s where I come in! I snag them and distribute them to the stressed and hungry kids at MHS who forgot to eat breakfast!
What is your favorite type of bagel? Cream cheese or no cream cheese?
Wellllll, that’s gotta be Cinnamon Sugar with butter- not a cream cheese but still totally delicious! If I had to actually choose [a type of cream cheese], I’d go with Honey Walnut or strawberry!
What’s the most popular type of bagel you hand out?
Cinnamon Sugar by FAR! I post on my Instagram story when I’ll have Bagels the next day – and people genuinely DM me to reserve them!
What do you like to do in your free time when you are not graciously donating bagels to ravenous high school students?
I’m an amateur Photographer and Videographer! When I’m not doing that, I go biking, hiking, skiing and camping. I also play a ton of video games and watch Netflix when I’m “studying”.
What footprint do you hope to leave on the Minnetonka High School?
I hope I’ll be able to to leave a lasting impact on people, showing what you can do with a little bit of kindness. But who knows, I’m probably overestimating the power of the Bagel!
What’s the best way to reach out to you for a bagel?
I post on my Instagram story (@Alec.Gougebas) the night before I bring in bagels, so shoot me a follow and respond to my story if you’re interested!
Also, if you’re interested in handing out bagels to your classes, hit me up and become a *Certified Dealer!* hold on, that sounds a little.. weird-
Do you have any particularly memorable moments to share from your bagel expeditions?
Lots of cool stories! When I first started, I was worried that the Administration would shut me down, so I tried to get on their good side. I saw Mr. Erickson and asked if he’d be interested in some bagels, and surprisingly he accepted! And brought a few dozen to the teachers lounge!
A trick I pulled with my friends was I’d give them a Pumpernickel bagel and tell them it was a chocolate bagel, (Pumpernickel bagels are dark brown and have a REALLY strong and bitter flavor) they’d take a huge bite, and then look very disgusted, and betrayed!
Thanks Alec! The power of a bagel and a little kindness shall indeed not be underestimated!
So, my friends, I encourage you to ponder what you could do to bring more joy into the halls of the school, or anywhere!