North Fulton County

“This is what life’s about”: Man keeps bakery running to help employees, gives away bagels for free

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Mahmoud Abdulla has been baking bagels for nearly 45 years, but none of them have meant so much to so many as they do now.

"When you work with people all these years, they become family to you. You want to take care of them. You can't just walk away from them,” Abdulla said.

He’s affectionately known as “Mac” around his City Bagel shop in Sandy Springs. But when the economy closed in March, his employees feared the worst.

"I just thought that because everybody was suffering, we were gonna suffer too,” baker Dajanira Austin said.

The hotels and restaurants that City Bagel supplied shut down. Mac could have done the same and laid off the whole staff. Instead, he kept most of them on the job. Still baking, and then giving all the bagels and breads to local food pantries.

"These struggles over the last couple of months have let people rise to the occasion. We've been able to see that here are good people out there doing good things,” customer Sandra Shrago said.


And all the while, even though no income was coming in, Mac paid his workers out of his own pocket.

"He's blessed. I think he puts that out to us, too. He gives blessings. That's how he receives his blessings,” Austin said.

The bagel man does feel blessed. He says there is a higher calling, and all of us should listen.

"That's what life is about. You give and take. But it makes me feel good to give,” Abdulla said.

Mac isn’t sure how many bagels he has given away over the last two-and-a-half months, but it’s easily tens of thousands.