America: it's been an unbelievably bitter week, news-wise. For a little while there, it was easy to think it would be impossible to find the good in other people, but then I heard the story of a California donut shop, and now I know the world just needs people like this to help it find its way back.
The Orange County Register reports that Seal Beach, California bakery Donut City has recently become the site of more sweets then the dessert it sells. When co-owner Stella Chan suffered (and survived) a brain aneurysm in September, her husband John wanted to stay at her side as much as possible while she recovers. Unfortunately, he can't close the shop because he makes everything fresh daily starting well before 4:30 a.m., and needs to sell his inventory before closing at his usual time of 3 p.m.
He told all of this to a curious customer who asked why Stella wasn't coming in anymore. "Days went by and I just couldn't get it out of my head," said Dawn Caviola to The Orange County Register. "So I thought, if enough people would buy a dozen doughnuts every morning, he could close early and go be with his wife."
So, Caviola decided to gather the residents of Seal Beach to execute a brilliant plan: completely buy out the store every single day so that John had more time to spend with his wife Stella at the rehabilitation center where she's currently recovering.
And buy out the store those folks did — and have been for the the past two weeks. "We are so thankful," John said, hands over heart, of the generosity. "I was able to leave at 10." Beautifully, foot traffic shows no signs of letting up, either.
Since Caviola and the other residents of Seal Beach opened their hearts (and wallets,) news of the Chan family's setback spread to other towns near Seal Beach, and judging from their Yelp and Facebook comments, people are driving out of their way to help clear out the store, which now is closing as early as 6:30 a.m. thanks to the kindness of his new and longtime patrons.
"Love love the donuts here! I came here to support after reading an article online about this man and his sick wife. I bought a dozen donuts and it was delicious!" said Ada T. on Yelp, almost with a sense of surprise. (You never know how truly good certain foods are until you have a locally, freshly made version of it.)
Another reviewer, Glen R., said of the Chan's other sweet offerings, "I recommend the chocolate chip muffins straight out of the oven at 5:30 a.m. … delish. This place is great, much better than Dunkin' Donuts, which I don't even know if they have in CA, but you get the point."
Recently, another well-intentioned customer offered to set up a GoFundMe page for the couple, but John Chang declined. "He said he has enough money," Caviola said. "He just wants to spend more time with his wife."
So just like that, his loyal customers gave John the very thing he needed.