This doughnut shop located on a Californian beach sells out early each day and enables the elderly shop owner to spend more time with his sick wife, all thanks to his loyal customers.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 18, 2023. It has since been updated.
Kindness and compassion are not dead yet and the residents of Seal Beach, California, are proving it daily by supporting an elderly man and his doughnut shop. According to ABC7, John Chhan has been selling scrumptious doughnuts to his customers for the last 30 years and his shop named Donut City starts its service as early as 4:30 a.m. But Chhan has not been managing his business all by himself. He was helped by his wife Stella and the couple became well-known in the community who loved buying doughnuts from them every morning.
"It's a lot of fun, we work together, we stay together," Chhan told the outlet. His shop usually sells out freshly baked sweet treats quickly because his regular customers always line up early in the morning to get their share of doughnuts before the supply starts flying off the shelf. But lately, Chhan's doughnuts have been selling out faster than ever and he gets to close his shop earlier than usual. Little did he know that his loyal customers are behind this as they flock in great numbers to buy every piece of doughnut that has been placed on the shelf for purchase.
Things were progressing normally for Chhan and his wife but in September 2018, Stella had a brain aneurysm. She was swiftly taken to the hospital and was shifted to a nursing facility so she can recover. "I hurt in my heart," said the elderly doughnut shop owner, admitting that this was an extremely difficult phase in his life. "A lot of people, they come to buy a lot of doughnuts from us and gave me more time to go visit my wife," Chhan added, addressing the kindness he received from the community.
Customers buy out all of the donuts at a donut shop so the owner can spend time with his sick wife pic.twitter.com/MwCzVwrj9L— Good News Dog (@goodnewsdog) May 21, 2023
His regular customers who were used to the presence of both Chhan and Stella behind the counter of their doughnut shop were shocked when they found out about her situation. As word-of-mouth spread the news of Chhan and his wife, customers knew exactly what they had to do in order to help the elderly couple. "The sooner we can get him home and get support for her, the better for both of them and the community," customer Charlie Dickinson said.
SWEET UPDATE: Last year, customers conspired to help John Chhan close up shop early every day to spend more time with his sick wife. Today, she has recovered and is back behind the counter of Donut City in Seal Beach. https://t.co/qKzQKRiWmC pic.twitter.com/2mnPWJozKL— KCAL News (@kcalnews) December 11, 2019
Chhan was left overwhelmed by the sweet gesture shown to him by the community and he appreciated their gratefulness. Every single piece of doughnut from the shelf started selling out by 10:30 a.m. and he could close the shop and rush home to be with his wife that much sooner. "It's a blessing really," an unidentified customer told CBS News. "We need more people like that to just help everybody out in whatever need they have."
Gives me hope— Emily Silver (@EmilySi63656931) May 22, 2023
I remember this. I drove by there all the time. The place was sold out really early and he was gone for the day.— HR Jon Gant (@hrJonGant) May 22, 2023
Stella, who was still recovering in rehab, was capable of talking to Chhan and even writing as well. Chhan also revealed that she was able to eat again and her condition was improving. Chhan even declined his customers' offer to set up a GoFundMe page to help the couple and simply wanted more time with his wife. "They’re such sweet, hard-working people," Dawn Caviola, a Donut City regular, told the Orange County Register. "I thought, if enough people would buy a dozen doughnuts every morning, he could close early and go be with his wife." Looks like the support from the community did not go to waste and almost a year after this incident, Stella recovered and went back to help her husband at Donut City by working limited shifts.