A humble little donut shop in California is the site of a sweet, emotional story involving love and collective kindness.
This is Donut City, a store in California where folks can treat themselves to everything from glazed to sprinkled donuts.
But the donuts aren’t the sweetest thing about this place. It’s the owners.
John Chhan has been running Donut City for 30 years with his wife, Stella.
When she had an aneurysm, John had to work alone.
Stella was going to be fine, but it would take a while. A brain aneurysm is no joke. She couldn’t work with him.
Bills had to be paid, especially hospital bills.
John kept working at the donut shop without her, depressed and lonely, while she recovered – and word about this spread.
The citizens of the area learned about this store full of sweets and its even sweeter owners, so they all started helping.
See, John and Stella weren’t worried about money. It was being together that they were having trouble with.
The immigrants from Cambodia and China respectively spent well over 30 years together and loved each other too much to be apart.
For the longest time, things would play out like this: John and Stella would ready the ovens by 2 AM and then open the shop at 4 AM. They would sell donuts for much of the day before closing around noon.
With Stella recovering at the rehabilitation center, John couldn’t afford the time to be with her until after closing hours.
And that was quite a long time.
A regular customer of theirs, 58-year-old Dawn Caviola, first learned about John’s situation and decided to get the message out via social media.
“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.” Caviola said
So the community of Seal Beach, California came together to regularly buy out the store’s donuts so John could end work early.
Every day, dozens of people who reside in the area would line up when the store opened. They’d buy boxes upon boxes of donuts from the store. Aside from letting John go home early to be with Stella, it also provided him with the income he needed.
Now, John could close up way before noon and leave to be with Stella – the one thing he wanted.
“I feel very warm. I can just say, ‘Thank you very much.” John said to everyone
He fought back tears when he tried to talk about how much it meant to him. Seeing that many people show their care and support for you would make anyone cry.
Stella has since recovered enough to return to working in light shifts.
She says she’s at “about 85%” of her capacity now. That’s great to hear.
“I was so happy. They all care about me.” said Stella
While full recovery might take a bit longer, Stella has come a long way already.
As long as she has her husband and community behind her, she’ll be just fine.
The people of the Seal Beach area have really shown that their people come before anything else. It put a big old smile on my face reading about it, and I hope it did for you too.
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