Customers Buy Out Donut Shop Early Every Morning So Owner Can Go Home To Sick Wife

by Julie Scagell
Originally Published: 
Image via YouTube/CBS 2 LA

His shop is selling out by mid-morning most days so he can close early to be by her side

A small business owner and his wife have worked side by side for decades serving donuts along the Pacific Coast Highway in Seal Beach, California. That is, until she became too sick to work — and that’s when an entire community rallied around them to help.

John Chhan and his wife, Stella, have owned Donut City for 30 years, CBS 2 Los Angeles reported. The couple came to the OC as refugees from Cambodia in 1979 and have been serving donuts to the community each morning ever since. Recently, customers noticed Stella’s absence and Chhan had to tell them she’d suffered an aneurysm.

Fortunately, Stella survived the ordeal, but is now staying in rehab to recover, so Chhan rushes to be by her side every day as soon as their shop closes. Once word spread, customers asked if they could set up a GoFundMe account for the couple, but Chhan declined.

That’s when all the folks who’ve relied on the Chhans every morning for breakfast decided to get creative — they come as soon as the shop opens to buy all of his donuts so he can close up early to be with his wife. “Hey come and support this guy’s donuts,” one customer said. “He’s a great man, great cause.”

“We sell out fast, every day,” Chhan said with a smile. That’s because most customers are coming in to buy a dozen donuts at a time, spreading the word via newsletters and by word of mouth. Because of their efforts, Chhan said he’s able to close up shop some days by 10 a.m. which allows him to be with Stella instead of working all day. “She can talk, she can write,” Chhan said of his wife’s progress. “Right now she’s trying to talk, swallow…eat something.”

I’m not a particularly religious person, but reading this story reminded me that ‘love thy neighbor’ is still something people believe in. For an entire community to figure out that the best way to help Chhan was to subsidize his business — quickly — every single day so he has the gift of time is something to truly marvel.

“It’s a blessing really,” the customer said. “We need more people like that to just help everybody out in whatever need they have.”

In a time where thoughts and prayers just never seem to be enough, this story is a reminder than sometimes the best course of action is action, itself.

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