When a beloved doughnut shop owner in Southern California had a brain aneurysm and was in a coma, the small town came together to help her business. Now, about a year later, Stella Chhan was back behind the counter.
Stella had been running Donut City in Seal Beach with her husband John for nearly 30 years until late 2018 when a bulbous artery in her brain left her partially paralyzed and unable to speak, CBS News reported.
As the years passed, the friendly couple have been hard at work. They get to the shop at 2 a.m. every day to bake the doughnuts and served their community at 4:30 a.m. But when Stella was in a coma, John was alone.
After news of Stella’s debilitating brain aneurysm spread through the local community, some of their regulars offered to help.
“We tried to offer him money to help with the medical expenses with Stella, and he just wouldn’t accept,” Marc Loopesko, who has been frequenting the shop for nearly two decades, said.
John wouldn’t take a handout so his customers decided to try a buyout. Turning to social media, they spread the word to show up early and buy up all of the doughnuts. The intent is to allow John to close his shop early each day so he can spend time with Stella.
Among their helpful patrons is Dawn Caviola. She decided to write a blog post on the private community network, Nextdoor, to urge to help, according to NBC News.
Soon, Donut City was selling like hotcakes with people coming from across the country.
“Not only to buy just one doughnut, but dozens,” Loopesko, who noticed people coming from as far as 70 miles, said. “They didn’t even want a doughnut, but they came here and helped.”
“There are people who don’t even eat sugar who are buying doughnuts from Mr. Chhan and giving them out to strangers,” Caviola said.
Stella and John said all the support helped her get better.
“I feel grateful,” Stella said. “They give me a hug. I’m so happy.”