John and Stella Chhan have run Donut City in Seal Beach, California, for nearly three decades. Over that time, their small mom-and-pop doughnut shop has become a staple in the community.
That’s why when new and longtime patrons found out that Stella suffered a brain aneurysm in September, they banned together to help. Customers turned out to buy doughnuts by the dozens so that John could close early and spend more time with his ailing wife.
The community came together thanks to 58-year-old Dawn Caviola, who has been going to Donut City for the past 13 years. Caviola realized that John was running the shop on his own while his wife recovered at a local rehabilitation center. She put out an alert on the private neighborhood network, Nextdoor, asking residents to help sell out John’s inventory each day.
Learn more about Chhan’s story in this video posted to YouTube by CBS Los Angeles:
“I went home and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. They are just such hardworking people,” Caviola told NBC News. “I have never done anything like that before but I just thought if everyone can just buy a dozen doughnuts, it might help him out. I didn’t think it would become this big.”
So far, the customers have really made a difference. During one weekend in late October, so many people came in to buy doughnuts in bulk that Chhan was able to close up shop by 10 a.m., he told the Orange County Register.
People have taken to social media to show their appreciation of Donut City’s customers and how they’ve rallied together for the Chhans. In fact, one Twitter user, @msmetivier, called them “awesome.”
— LeeAnneth (@msmetivier) November 4, 2018
Another Twitter user, @MsVonnieG, commented that there’s “still some good in this world.” And she’s not wrong.
There is still some good in this world ☺️☺️☺️
Donut City: Customers buy all the donuts each morning so owner can be with sick wife – The Washington Post – https://t.co/IgnyWSekVU https://t.co/me8WXtASnu
— ❣VonnieG❣ (@MsVonnieG) November 6, 2018
Stella remained in a drowsy state and was unable to speak for the first two weeks after her aneurysm. But she is recovering well, gaining back strength in her limbs gradually, John told the Orange County Register. While Stella is in rehab, her sister, Sharon Tam, is also helping out at the doughnut shop.