Don’t ever underestimate the power of social media. In March, residents of Texas and beyond turned up in a big way to show support to a family’s new doughnut shop after the owner’s son, Billy By posted a sweet tweet.
After the grand opening of Billy’s Donuts in Missouri City, Texas, Billy snapped a photo on March 9 of his “sad” dad standing behind a display full of doughnuts in an empty yellow shop.
Ever since the opening of the shop, Billy’s hardworking father, Satharith By has been waking up early at 2 a.m. to make doughnuts, NBC News reported.
Originally from Cambodia, this was Satharith’s second stint as an owner of a doughnut shop. He was forced to sell his first shop in Houston, after his wife Nakry fell ill. When Nakry got well, the By family opened their new doughnut shop in Texas.
However, sales had been slow ever since the grand opening.
“And we tried to save money to open this one. And then, the first couple days it was so quiet, and I was so sad,” Nakry told the Houston Chronicle.
“I was really so sad,” said Satharith. “It was too slow. And I told my wife maybe we’d have to sell the shop and go out to work. And then Billy was so sad. So he said, ‘I can help you Dad. I’ll make this better.’ And he did.”
To help his dad drum up the store’s business, Billy uploaded the picture of his sullen dad on Twitter.
My dad is sad cause no one is coming to his new donut shop 😭 pic.twitter.com/y5aGB1Acrc
— Billy’s Donuts (@BillysDonuts) March 9, 2019
Unexpectedly, the tweet spread like wildfire, racking up more than 770,000 likes as of March 26, eliciting an overwhelming response.
Celebrities such as Casey Neistat and actor James Woods caught wind of the tweet, and helped to spread the word.
James Woods shared the tweet, writing, “Come on, everybody. Let’s do this.”
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) March 11, 2019
The viral post drove a slew of customers to Billy’s Donuts at 7022 Hwy 6 suite 800 Missouri City, Texas, to lend their support the next day.
“*drives 44 mins to buy his donuts*,” one user wrote.
On Sunday morning, people were lining up in the donut shop when KPRC News crew visited. Business was so good that the doughnuts and kolaches were cleared off the shelves in no time.
Thankful for the tremendous turnout, Billy tweeted, alongside a photo of his smiling dad: “Just wanted to update yall! We completely sold out of donuts and kolaches! You are all amazing. I can’t thank everyone enough for coming out and supporting local businesses. This means so much to my family.”
Just wanted to update yall! We completely sold out of donuts and kolaches! You are all amazing. I can’t thank everyone enough for coming out and supporting local businesses. This means so much to my family ❤ pic.twitter.com/o3GQcKvVnG
— Billy’s Donuts (@BillysDonuts) March 10, 2019
On the following Monday, some Twitter employees patronized Billy’s Donuts to pick up the tab for all the customers.
“With just one tweet, Billy sparked an outpouring of love and support around the world,” a spokesperson from Twitter wrote. “We’re here to show him ours.”
Forgot to mention, thanks for buying out the shop for our customers too! ♥️
— Billy’s Donuts (@BillysDonuts) March 11, 2019
And on Tuesday, Joe Baltazar of Sugar Land, who was at Billy’s Donuts to buy glazed doughnuts and ham-and-cheese croissants, told the Houston Chronicle, “I wasn’t expecting it to be this crazy this early in the morning.”
“This is family,” Baltazar continued. “This is local. This is community and this is a happy place. So supporting them? It’s the least I can do.”
Seeing the business picking up, the By family was undoubtedly happy.
“Right now, I’m very happy,” Satharith said.
“Thank you for the community,” he added. “And thank you for the customer that come.”
Alluding to his dad, Billy said, “He came here about 20, 30 years ago to find a better life and this is it.”
Amazingly, the Internet craze over Billy’s Donuts never seems to die down. The store’s Instagram account has burgeoned from a few followers to more than 163,000 followers in just a matter of a few weeks.
The Texas community and beyond came together to support a family’s new business venture simply because of a concerned son’s tweet. It’s absolutely heartwarming, isn’t it? The next time you’re in Missouri City, make sure to drop by at Billy’s Donuts to catch Satharith and his loving son, Billy.
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