Doughnuts Shop Customers Bought All the Doughnuts so the Owner Could Spend Time with His Sick Wife

This is a heartwarming story of a community coming together to help out a friend in need.

A Mom-and-Pop Doughnut Shop

John, 62, and Stella Chhan, 63, run the Donut City in Seal Beach, California. They have been owners of the doughnut shop for nearly three decades. Over the years, their little mom-and-pop doughnut shop had become a staple in the community. Their popularity and sweetness is what brought the community together when John and Stella found themselves in time of need.


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When customers, long-time as well as new, found out that Stella suffered a brain aneurysm in September, they came together and did something incredible.

Incredibly Sweet Gesture

The devoted customers of Donut City decided to get together and find a way to help out both John and Stella. So what they did was buy dozens of doughnuts. Why? Because they knew that if they buy all the doughnuts, then John could close up shop early and spend time with his ailing wife.


Source: NBC News

The customers have made a difference. During one weekend in late October, tons of people came in to buy doughnuts in bulk. Chhan was, therefore, able to close up shop by 10 a.m.

Spending Cash but Giving Love

Every morning, starting at 4:30 a.m., customers start coming to the doughnut shop. They buy up all the doughnuts. By 7:30 a.m., the bins are empty.


Source: Orange County Register

“It is heartbreaking to hear her misfortune,” regular customer Steven O’Fallon said regarding Stella. “She was always in the back making doughnuts. I would drop by there with my mom and dad in the mornings before school. John would always toss a few extra doughnut holes. He always has a smile on his face.”

Thanks to One Loyal Customer

The community came together thanks to 58-year-old Dawn Caviola. She’s been a loyal customer of Donut City for the past 13 years.


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When Caviola found out that John had been running the shop on his own while his wife was recovering at a local rehabilitation center, she took the initiative and put out an alert on the private neighborhood network Nextdoor, asking residents to help sell out John’s inventory each day.

Dawn Caviola’s Post

Caviola’s blog post on Nextdoor urged residents to help. “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,” she said.


Source: NBC News

The blog post said that if they managed to buy out his inventory for the day, Chann could leave early to spend time with his wife. This made enough sense to everyone, and the results were terrific. The post immediately went viral on social media and Facebook.

People have taken to social media to show their appreciation of Donut City’s customers. One Twitter user called them “awesome.”

Customers Reflect on the Couple

The Donut City customers are happy to give back to the sweet couple. They say that they are simply giving back the joyfulness that the Chhans handed them out over the decades.


Source: Orange County Register

“Every Sunday for 20 years, we’ve been purchasing doughnuts,” said Jenee Rogers, who is another long-time customer. “It’s one of the few things that are still here. He makes them fresh and brings them right there in the mornings. It’s a real American dream for them.”

The American Dream

The Chhans have worked hard for their version of the American dream. They moved to California from Cambodia in the 1970s.

Based on their hard work, it is understandable that they don’t want to accept too much charity. So they specifically asked that no crowdfunding sites be set up on their behalf.


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And therefore the customers decided to do what they’ve always done, which is buy doughnuts. They just chose to come a little earlier in the morning. It’s quite a creative way to help out by respecting the couple’s wishes.

More Loving Words from Customers

So many customers had nice things to say about the couple and why they wanted to help out. One particular patron said, “This is something that’ll warm your heart. It’s unfortunate what happened to his wife. But I believe that something like this, bringing the community together, is just something we need right now.”


Source: Orange County Register

Another customer added, “It’s a blessing. We need more people like that to help people out in whatever need they have.”

What about Stella? How is she? Let’s find out…

What Happened to Stella?

Stella suffered a brain aneurysm at a wedding party on September 22. She experienced dizziness, becoming disoriented at the event. Later on, a brain scan revealed a bulging artery and Stella was unconscious for two weeks before finally being able to speak again.


Source: NBC News

With a business of their own and bills to pay, it’s very stressful to have to worry about staying afloat and not having to close down or take out additional loans from the bank. John is overwhelmed by the help he’s received. “Oh, I feel warm, very appreciative,” he said.

So How’s Stella Doing?

Stella was in a tired state and was unable to speak for a while. However, she’s recovering well. While Stella is in rehab, her sister, Sharon Tam, helps out at the doughnut shop.


Source: YouTube

John mentioned how Stella is now able to talk and write when referring to her progress. She’s working on being able to eat.

We are all wishing her well and hope they can get back to normal as soon as possible.