John Chhan and his wife, Stella, used to sell doughnuts every day for nearly 30 years out of their shop, Donut City, in Seal Beach. But that changed after Stella Chhan suffered a brain aneurysm in September, and was placed in a nursing home.
Soon after, customers began to notice that Stella Chhan wasn’t selling doughnuts with her husband anymore.
But after hearing about her illness, the community initially offered to set up a GoFundMe account for the couple, but John declined the offer saying he simply wants to spend more time with his wife. So, customers have endeavored to help Donut City sell out early every day so he can return to the rehabilitation center where she is recovering. business picked up, and the store began selling doughnuts at a much faster pace as customers pitched in to help John Chhan close early so that he could go visit his wife.
“[They’re buying] one or two dozen doughnuts for their friends and relatives,” John Chhan told ABC News. “Before they [would buy] one, two or three donuts.”
Whereas before John Chhan and his wife would sell doughnuts from 4:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Friday, he said his business was closed, with all the doughnuts sold out, by 8:30 a.m.
Marc Loopesko, a customer of Donut City for 18 years, told ABC News that he heard about John Chhan’s situation through a online community board, where one post called on the community to support the doughnut shop.
“We all just put the word out there that we should go into the doughnut shop and buy as many doughnuts as we can, so he can sell through thoroughly, close up the shop and get to the facility to work with his wife,” Loopesko said.
“We’re very close knit. When there is a need, we really step forward and bond together, put our differences aside and we help one another,” Loopesko added, mentioning that he’ll give the doughnuts away to homeless people, neighbors, or city workers such as firefighters.
Stella Chhan is recovering, though. In the time since she became sick, she has become stronger and she’s now able to write with her right hand, John Chhan said.
For John Chhan, who said he wasn’t sure what he’d do without his wife by his side at the shop, he is tremendously grateful to his customers.
“I would like to thank neighbors in the community who helped me since my wife fell sick,” he said. “The community has been helping me and supporting me.”