With the crazy political climate and all of the disgusting stories that fill the news cycle every day, it’s nice to focus on some feel-good stories every once in a while–and this one might just have your allergies acting up.
Every morning at 4:30 AM, small business owners John Chhan and his wife, Stella, have opened the doors to the Donut City Shop in Seal Beach, California for almost 30 years. That loyalty to their business and their customers was threatened when Stella suffered a brain aneurysm in September, leaving John with the responsibility of choosing between keeping his family’s business open, and sticking by his wife’s side to aide and recuperate her health.
“She’s in a nursing home,” Chhan said when he spoke to CNN on Monday. “My sister-in-law is here helping me.”
Since the store has been open for almost three decades, it’s no surprise Donut City Shop has a loyal following. When the store’s patrons heard about Chhan’s dire situation, the community pulled together to eat a lot of doughnuts.
In recent weeks, customers have assembled in droves at the beloved community bakery, buying up every single doughnut and cup of coffee until the store is sold out as early as 7:30 AM. Why are they doing this? To make sure that Chhan can get home and be with his ailing wife as early as possible.
Loyal customers spoke with local news reporters about Chhan and Stella’s doughnuts and all about what the couple’s service has meant to the town.
“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,” says Steven O’Fallon, thinking back to his early memories of the shop.
“It’s one of the few things that’s still here. He makes them fresh and brings them right there in the mornings. It’s a real American dream for them,” 20-year regular Jenee Rogers says of the couple, who came to the United States as Cambodian refugees in 1979. And that’s why so many in the community are behind the family, they’ve been a huge staple in the community for so many years–now they feel like it’s their time to help.
The Chhans insisted that no crowd-funding sites be built on their behalf, which is a testament to how hard-working the family has always been. Without a way to donate to the cause directly, the community thinks that putting money into the business is the least they can do.
“I am very appreciative,” says Chhan of his customers.