Town buys out entire doughnut inventory so owner can spend time with his ailing wife

For 28 years, John and Stella Chhan, who had come to the U.S. as refugees from Cambodia a decade before opening their shop, have arrived at the store with their baker at 2 a.m. every day to prepare doughnuts for the day. The community knows that at 4:30 a.m., no matter the day of the week, Donut City in Seal Beach, Calif., will be open.

In mid-October, however, patrons of the popular doughnut shop found out that Stella suffered a brain aneurysm, according to NBC News, and since late September she has been recovering in a rehabilitation center.

When Dawn Caviola, a regular, along with her daughter, found out that John was running the shop by himself while Stella was relearning how to speak and eat, she was unable to get the thought of the couple out of her head.

Caviola went home and wrote on Nextdoor about the hardworking couple. “I just thought if everyone can just buy a dozen doughnuts, it might help them out,” she told NBC. “I didn’t think it would become this big.”

A California community buys doughnuts by the dozen so the shop’s owner can close early to spend time with his ailing wife. (Photo: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
A California community buys doughnuts by the dozen so the shop’s owner can close early to spend time with his ailing wife. (Photo: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

Caviola hoped the community would buy enough doughnuts that John could sell out and be able to spend the extra time with his wife — and thanks to the viral post, the doors to Donut City were closed by 8:30 a.m. Marc Loopesko, who has been a customer of Donut City for almost two decades, of course, bought doughnuts to help John out, but he wondered if he could do more. He offered to begin a GoFundMe page for the couple, but John declined. He said that he would just like to have extra time with his wife.

“People can just do a simple thing for their neighbors,” Caviola said. “There are people who don’t even eat sugar who are buying doughnuts from Mr. Chhan and giving them out to strangers.”

“We sold everything already,” John told NBC News on Saturday. “I feel very warm and very happy. Thank you to everyone.” His wife, Stella, is recovering well, he said. He hopes she will return to the shop soon.

Yahoo Lifestyle tried to contact Donut City but had not heard back by publishing time.

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.


Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting