This week, I chose a simple doughnut of the week so we could spend some time on the wild and crazy week that Gibson’s Donuts experienced.
To make sure the doughnut holes were okay (riiiiight), I tried one (or two) right after I set the boxes on the table. Y’all, they had just come from the oven, because they were still warm! I was afraid they wouldn’t match my first impression of them, but they were just as good, if not better, than I remembered: melt-in-your-mouth tastee.
No “after” photograph, as it would just be two empty boxes with a few flakes of glaze in the bottom.
Now for the doughnut of the week – Vanilla:
The glaze got a little mushed, but that’s on me. I moved the bag around on my kitchen counter a bit too much while I got some cooking for the week done, and I was apparently not careful enough.
This is not my first experience with the vanilla glaze. It’s been the base of several other doughnuts, but I’ve never had it solo. The taste was delightful. It was the perfect kind of sweet: a light vanilla flavor balanced with the perfection that is the glazed doughnut. I also love that Gibson’s doesn’t make every doughnut fancy with glitter, sprinkles, and decorations, etc. (not that there’s anything wrong with that). They know that sometimes, we want a straightforward, classic doughnut. The Vanilla fits squarely in that category.
Tastee score: 8
Doughnut news: Fasten your seatbelts, friends, cuz we’ve got a lot to cover. First up, the #CongressionalCannonballRun. US House Representatives Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) and Beto O’Rourke (D – El Paso) were getting ready to fly from San Antonio to Washington, DC this past Tuesday to make it to DC for the first vote of the session on Wednesday. Wintry weather in DC interfered, however, and their flights were canceled due to the snow storm. Neither one of them knew the other very well, but Rep. O’Rourke convinced Rep. Hurd to drive to DC, so they hopped in a rented Chevy Impala and road tripped it to DC. They livestreamed the whole trip on Facebook, inviting questions about any issues facing our country, then discussed their thoughts on each matter to demonstrate that people can, according to Rep. Hurd, “disagree without being disagreeable.” They also spoke with other Congresspeople and asked each of them what member of the opposite party they would like to road trip with.
Their playlist was pretty great as well, including Robert Earl Keen, Selena, Social Distortion, Buddy Holly, The Clash, Foss (Rep. O’Rourke’s band), and my favorite, Lyle Lovett.
As they were headed toward Memphis on Tuesday evening, Gibson’s shared the livestream on its Facebook page:
Dozens and dozens of folks then added comments to the livestream, suggesting – nay, insisting – that the Representatives stop at Gibson’s Donuts, even providing the address. So after this Aggie/former undercover CIA officer (Hurd) and former punk rocker (O’Rourke) finished up a visit to Graceland, they headed to our favorite doughnut shop, where they spoke to the patrons about any issue they wished. WMC-TV5 anchor Joe Birch ran over after his 10 pm broadcast and interviewed them (bless their hearts, they were trying to get out of there so they could make it to Nashville to sleep a bit before Day 2 of their road trip – it was 11:30 pm at this point, but they were very gracious and answered his questions). Representative O’Rourke videoed the interview with his phone while Mr. Birch captured the interview on his phone. While Representative Hurd was answering a question, Representative O’Rourke turned to his phone and whispered, “this is getting meta” of the phone to phone video. (Politicians can be funny, too.)
Mr. DeWeese’s son, Bain, had arranged to pay for their box of a dozen doughnuts (a combo of the Old-Fashioned and Chocolate Cruller) and t-shirts for each of them. Representative Hurd noted the Old-Fashioned was “light.” Representative O’Rourke devoured two Chocolate Crullers before they hit the expressway, so I think it’s safe to assume he thoroughly enjoyed them. They later declared Gibson’s Donuts’ doughnuts their favorite snack of the entire 31 hour trip. They mentioned Gibson’s Donuts several times on the trip, including in yet another interview when they arrived at the Capitol, with 30 minutes to spare before they would be too late to cast their votes.
A few folks commented that perhaps the Representatives should wear their Gibson’s t-shirts on the House floor, but that apparently would be a violation of the House dress code. What did happen? Both Representatives signed as co-sponsors on each other’s bills, which they had discussed on their trip. You can read about the bills here (for real, both propose helpful legislation).
As you can imagine, the trip garnered a good bit of media attention, some of which included the stop at Gibson’s. The Washington Post, home of the inimitable Woodward and Bernstein, reported the trip and gave a pretty good play-by-play of the visit to Gibson’s. Other news media that covered the trip: the New York Times, multiple Texas newspapers, and even the BBC.
This would be enough excitement for one doughnut shop in one week, right? But on Friday, while we were still marveling at the attention that Gibson’s was getting due to their crack-smart marketing move, near-tragedy struck:
Apparently, an elderly man’s brakes failed as he was pulling into a parking spot right in front of the store, and his car crashed into two of the windows. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and no doughnuts were damaged. Details here.
Full shot of the front of the building after the two affected windows were boarded up:
Another view of the damaged window – from my trip to to Gibson’s this morning:
Back to the crash: The video of the car coming through two of the front windows is in the link above – watch that one first so you’ll have the timeline down. I really want you to watch the video of the folks behind the counter, though (posted by Glenn Carver of WREG):
As I’m sure my sharp-eyed fellow-Gibson’s fans noticed: the Gibson’s employees DID NOT DROP THE DOUGHNUTS! In the face of danger, they kept the boxes of doughnuts carefully balanced, then went right back to the counter to complete their customers’ orders. I saw one of these fine folks later that night (I convinced some friends of mine from Texas who were driving through Memphis to try Gibson’s). He proudly proclaimed that OF COURSE he protected the doughnuts, then fist-bumped a fellow employee in celebration. And you know what? I’m not surprised. The customer service at Gibson’s is consistently efficient, friendly, and fun. It really seems like the employees enjoy working there and make sure that you, their customer, are enjoying your time there, too. So naturally, they are quick-thinking when the unexpected occurs.
Mr. DeWeese, these fearless, dedicated employees should be named Employees of the Month! If you don’t already have that award, please add it!
Speaking of Mr. DeWeese, I saw him at Gibson’s this morning (does he ever sleep?). In between chatting with a customer and checking on the folks at the register, I think I detected a bit of exhaustion and concern in place of his normally pleasant, smiling expression on his face. I hope he and the other Gibson’s employees are taking some time to rest after this nutty week.
It’s true. If you don’t get to Gibson’s before 11 am, you might not get a specific flavor doughnut you want. But I’m willing to bet you’ll get a tastee doughnut you’ll enjoy.