California Donut Shop Patrons Buy Out Inventory So Owner Can Spend Time With His Ailing Wife

California donut shop sells out every day so owner can attend to his ill wife
Kamil Macniak / Shutterstock

Sometimes, more than one Good Samaritan crosses your path.

Customers of Donut City in Seal Beach, which is just south of Los Angeles, are regularly purchasing donuts by the dozen so that the owner of the establishment can close early every day to spend time with his wife, according to NBC News. John Chhan, 62, the owner of Donut City, has owned and operated the establishment with his wife, Stella, for 28 years until Stella suffered an aneurysm in late September. Chhan tried to run the shop by himself before going to visit Stella at night, but when customers noticed Stella’s absence and learned of her ailment, they banded together to support the couple, purchasing Chhan’s inventory every day so that he can close the shop early and go visit Stella at her rehabilitation center.

As is often the case in modern times, social media played a key role in the remarkable display of community bonding. Dawn Caviola, a bi-monthly regular customer at Donut City for 13 years, was moved by Chhan’s dedication to hard work and to his beloved wife upon learning of the couple’s plight. Caviola went home and wrote a blog post on the private community network NextDoor, and urged her neighbors to helps the Chhans. Her idea was for as many people as possible to go to Donut City and buy a dozen donuts every day, emptying the inventory and allowing Chhan to close early to spend time with his wife. The post immediately went viral on other social media sites.

Donut City has become something of an institution in Seal Beach. Ten years after arriving as Cambodian refugees in 1990, the Chhans opened the shop. Since that day over 28 years ago, they have been arriving at 2 a.m. every day to bake donuts to open their doors to the community at 4:30. Many longtime residents of Seal Beach have been coming to Donut City for decades.

“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.”

Last weekend, Chhan was able to close the store by 8:30 a.m. thanks to the efforts of his community to support him.

“We sold everything already,” he said. “I feel very warm and very happy. Thank you to everyone.”

Stella is recovering well and Chhan hopes to have her by his side again soon.

“She is a lot better,” he said. “She can speak now and she is learning how to eat again.”