TAMPA — Panera Bread has a lot of explaining to do. Every year on the first Sunday in February they pull the dumbest stunts and I’m starting to wonder if I’m the problem. My order is simple: broccoli cheddar soup with a side salad, and maybe an iced tea if I’m feeling special. All to-go. Easy, right? Apparently not.

This morning I walked into my local Panera and placed my order, thinking nothing of it. When everything was ready, I was handed my veggies and drink, but when I inquired about the status of my entree, they motioned for me to come behind the counter. I obliged, just hoping to receive the food I paid for, before being bludgeoned over the head with a metal cookie sheet, knocking me unconscious. 

I awoke on the cold tile floor with my arms and legs bound together, hog-style. This wasn’t the issue, as my wife and I routinely engage in similar behavior at home. The problem arose when Tom Brady himself emerged from behind the bread racks and crouched down to forcefully remove the apple from my mouth. 

“Soup or bowl,” he demanded softly. 

“That’s today, yeah,” I shrugged.

“No. Soup or bowl. Choose now,” instructed Brady. 

I thought about it briefly before innocently answering with “soup,” which caused Tom to cut my restraints and reveal a pot of steaming hot stew behind him. He yanked my arms forward and demanded that I cup my hands, before tipping over the pot and letting the boiling mix of cheese and broccoli pour into my quaking palms. Like a horse at its trough, I desperately lapped up the generous gift Mr. Brady had bestowed upon me. After my short meal, I was knocked unconscious once again. 

This time, I awoke to Patrick Mahomes in front of me, clad in his Panera bread apron. He handed me a brown paper bag containing a singular football-shaped cookie. 

“Should’ve chosen the bowl. Anyways, enjoy Super Bowl 55 brought to you by Panera. Stop in and try our famous You Pick 2 Deal at your local Panera today,” he smiled.

“What,” I asked.

“AND CUT! Great stuff, Patrick. It was genius to do the commercial live this year,” said Martin Scorsese, rising from his seat behind the camera and embracing Mahomes.

I blindly stumbled out from under the stage lights and exited the Panera, but not before Martin thanked me for my time and invited me back again for next year’s ad.

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