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Customers buy out doughnut shop early every day so owner can spend more time with his ailing wife

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.

Customers buy out doughnut shop early every day so owner can spend more time with his ailing wife
Cover Image Source: YouTube | CBS This Morning

Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 18, 2023. It has since been updated.

Kindness and compassion thrive in Seal Beach, California, as residents consistently rally around a cherished elderly doughnut shop owner. 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.

Representational Image Source: Pexels | cottonbro studio
Representational Image Source: Pexels | Photo by cottonbro studio

"It's a lot of fun, we work together, we stay together," Chhan told the outlet. Thanks to his dedicated customers lining up at dawn, his shop's freshly baked sweet treats usually sell out quickly, as everyone rushes to grab their share of doughnuts before they vanish. Recently, Chhan's doughnuts have been selling out faster than ever, allowing him 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.

Life was normal for Chhan and his wife until September 2018, when Stella suffered 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.


The regulars, accustomed to seeing both Chhan and Stella behind the counter, were shocked upon learning of her condition. 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.


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."



In rehab, Stella made strides in her recovery, now able to speak with Chhan and even pen down her thoughts. 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." Nearly a year later, thanks to unwavering community support, Stella recovered and returned to help her husband at Donut City, albeit on limited shifts.


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