2 days after robbery, the mood at this SF doughnut shop was festive

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On Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, two men robbed Happy Donuts in San Francisco at gunpoint.

On Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, two men robbed Happy Donuts in San Francisco at gunpoint.

Timothy Karoff/SFGATE

For a store that was robbed just two days earlier, the mood in Happy Donuts was unusually festive Wednesday morning. 

On Monday, Oct. 2, two armed men robbed the Happy Donuts in Noe Valley at gunpoint, the San Francisco Standard reported, taking an ATM machine and cash. Two days later, neighbors gathered at the shop to show their support. 

Julian Weisser, a 33-year-old entrepreneur who lives in the neighborhood, spearheaded the informal gathering. 

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Weisser told SFGATE that he hoped to “get people to show up and show some love.” On Tuesday afternoon, the day after the robbers hit Happy Donuts, he posted flyers around Noe Valley. “Tomorrow I’m buying you a donut,” the signs read in all caps, pledging to purchase doughnuts for the first 100 customers who arrived at Happy Donuts on Wednesday morning, starting at 9 a.m. He had first posted the offer on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday.

Community members gathered at Noe Valley's Happy Donuts on Wednesday morning.

Community members gathered at Noe Valley’s Happy Donuts on Wednesday morning.

Courtesy of Laurance Lem Lee

Word spread, and the store filled up. Some customers used the money they would have spent on doughnuts to tip. Others arrived expecting to pay, only to receive a doughnut for free.

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Weisser estimated that between 9 and 10 a.m., he purchased doughnuts for 55 people, approximately $170 worth of confections. While he was at the shop, three strangers approached him and offered him $20 each, which he handed to the store’s employees to cover doughnuts for any stragglers. When SFGATE arrived at the store at 10:30 a.m., the crowd had dispersed, but employees still handed out free doughnuts to late arrivals. 

Suhad Omar, whose family has owned Happy Donuts for more than 40 years, told SFGATE that Weisser arrived with his parents and offered a cash donation to pay for customers’ doughnuts. “My face was just in shock,” she said. 

“Noe Valley folks, we’re community, neighbors, and this is what we do,” she added. “Both when we go through happy times or obstacles. The community all comes, we get together, and we support each other.”

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