Patrons Buy Doughnuts by the Dozen So Shop Owner Can Spend Extra Time with Ailing Wife

Let’s face it: these days, the news has been pretty bleak. So, bleak, in fact, we haven’t had all that much motivation to open up our local paper. What’s the point in reading the news if it’s all bad news, after all?

Well, we are very happy to report to you that there ARE still some wonderful things happening in the good, old U-S-and-A and, believe it or not, they’re pretty tasty, too!

It’s all going down in the quaint seaside town of Seal Beach, CA, a place that is known for its stellar surf, beautiful weather, and, believe it or not, yummy doughnuts!

Doughnut shop owners John and Stella Chhan have been running the iconic Donut City in the town for close to three decades. It’s a spot that is a local’s favorite, not just for the sweet treats, but also, the friendly owners.

You see, as sole proprietors–and the only employees!–both have been working behind the counter 7 days a week, starting at 4:30 am each morning for, as mentioned, going on almost 30 years. It’s a memorable detail, so memorable, in fact, Donut City’s regular customers were quick to notice when, late in September, Stella was no longer at her usual station behind the counter.

As it turns out, the 63-year-old business owner had suffered a devastating aneurysm while at a wedding party. In an interview with the Orange County Register, John recalls the scary time, explaining that his wife was in a “sleep-like state” for weeks before finally coming to. “I was so relieved and grateful,” Mr. Chan said.

Fortunately, Stella is improving; she is speaking and re-learning how to eat and swallow, but the road to recovery is going to be a long one. What makes it even more trying for the couple is the fact that John still has to go into Donut City every morning, while his wife recovers in a rehabilitation facility.

But, upon hearing the news, Donut City’s loyal customers rallied together to make sure that John would get as much time with Stella as possible. The effort was spearheaded by longtime customer, Dawn Caviola, who took to the social media platform, Nextdoor with an idea.

“Days went by and I just couldn’t get [Stella’s illness] out of my head,” Caviola told the newspaper. “So I thought, if enough people would buy a dozen doughnuts every morning, he could close early and go be with his wife.” 

And, that’s just what the community did–and continues to do!

Mr. Chan said that he sold so many doughnuts on the first day of Caviola’s campaign that he was able to lock Donut City’s doors at 10 am and see his wife. To make the story even more amazing, ever since the customer’s announcement, the shop has sold out, on average, 3 hours earlier than usual each day.

Now, how’s that for a heartwarming story, folks?

To learn more about Donut City’s loyal customers and to meet the sweet John Chhan for yourself, be sure to watch the video below!







We’d love to hear your thoughts on this story. Did you find this tale to be inspiring? Have you ever been to Donut City? Has someone in your community ever organized a similar effort?