The Breadwinner: A look into senior Vincent Tran’s bread endeavors

Meet Vincent Tran, the famed MVHS bread man


Annie Zhang

He walks into campus carrying trademarked “Boudin Sourdough” bags filled with a variety of bread delicacies. The bag is stuffed with golden brown baguettes and scrumptious blocks of sourdough bread ready to be distributed to the students of MVHS. Known by students and teachers alike, this is senior Vincent Tran, known as the “bread man.”

Senior Vincent Tran joined the Boudin Bakery team on July 31. Finding the job through a manager he knew beforehand, Tran describes his first day of registered employment as “chaotic” and unmistakably “funny.”

Photo courtesy of Vincent Tran.

“I made a whole bunch of mistakes and accidentally charged one of these customers for six loaves of bread instead of one because there were six that were hidden in there,” Tran said. “There’s a whole lot of weird buttons and functions in the POS system; if you accidentally hit the wrong one, even by mishap, then it can just go by.”

Now with almost two months of experience, Tran actively contributes to Boudin’s bread stock. With the baker coming in at night and morning to bake fresh bread, the store is “forced” to get rid of all of the unconsumed bread to accommodate space. Left with huge bundles of bread, Tran resolved to find a way to distribute it.

“My manager and I don’t like getting rid of bread,” Tran said. “So I’m like alright, I’ll donate to homeless shelters. I brought it to my church; I had people bring it to other churches. When I still have a lot of bread I thought, ‘Alright, school’s starting. I’ll bring it to MVHS.’”

As one of the first recipients of Tran’s bread load, chemistry teacher Mia Onodera describes her initial reaction to this as one of “surprise,” a simple exchange of “What are you doing?”

However, Onodera doesn’t find Tran’s activity troubling. Her classroom has the accommodations for space, paper towels and other appliances that “regular” classrooms don’t carry whenever Tran brings in bread. Onodera highlights the positivity of Vincent’s actions.

Onodera and Tran unload Tran’s bread supply in Onodera’s first period chemistry class. Photo by Annie Zhang.

“It can be distracting, but it’s a nice change of pace,” Onodera said. “Because it’s a lot of work for him to haul it up here and things like that. But I think for him it works. He gets that positive attention and he’s sharing his work experience. I look at [it] as a positive thing.”

When distributing the bread, Tran describes his immediate response as a sense of relief, as there is a large and heavy quantity of bread. However, Tran’s vision is unrestricted and is broadened to the wellness of the bakery and bread stock regulation.

“At the end of the day, it’s that there’s another day of bread that didn’t go to waste,” Tran said. “Hungry kids are fed; they depend on me now because since I do it so often. My intention for bringing the bread is so that it gets eaten.”

Through hugs and word of thanks, Tran feels happy that his efforts are appreciated. However, Tran notes that people irritably inquire him for bread at “random” times and that conclusively “itches” on him.

“By now, most people would understand that my bread schedule fluctuates,” Tran said. “But generally, it comes on Fridays; I work on Thursdays and I bring it on Fridays. But sometimes people will ask me in the middle of the week, ‘Do you have bread?’ No, I don’t have bread! I find that a little obnoxious of people sometimes.’”

As referenced by Onodera, kids generally enjoy the bread and its contribution to their “wellness.” Sophomore Natalie Zhou is one of the many people who  receives Tran’s weekly bread haul. Feeling contentment from receiving the bread, Zhou says that she promotes Tran’s bread activity.

Infographic by Annie Zhang.

“I feel like it’s a good thing to do since he’s donating bread to people instead of letting it go to waste,” Zhou said. “I support him.”

Tran plans to continue distributing bread to MVHS’ students and teachers for the duration of his senior year.

“I don’t see any reason why to stop,” Tran said. “People like the bread; so far, I haven’t received any real major backlash from bringing the bread. The store is fine with it, a lot of people at the school are fine with it, I’m fine with it.”

Tran concludes that giving out bread is distinctive of the MVHS “norm” and differentiates from the usual MVHS conformity. 

“If [MVHS students] don’t do clubs or sports or whatever, they’re just tantalizing their own academic stuff; they don’t care about anything else,” Tran said. “If they see someone like me being the trendsetter, everything is going to change. Game-changer.”