Satharith By has been getting up at 2 in the morning to start making doughnuts since his shop opened last week in Missouri City, Texas.
But business at the shop, Billy's Donuts, near Houston, had been slow. So to drum up sales, By's son, Billy, posted on Twitter.
"My dad is sad cause no one is coming to his new donut shop," Billy By wrote on the website Saturday, accompanied by a crying face emoji and photos of his dad at the counter.
Within hours, Billy's post had been retweeted thousands of times, and the shop had sold out. As of Monday, the tweet had more than 300,000 retweets — including by actor James Woods, the Twitter company account and filmmaker Casey Neistat — and more than 600,000 likes.
“I was just trying to help my dad gain more business through my friends, but eventually, other people saw it too,” Billy By said.
NBC affiliate KPRC stopped by the shop Sunday morning and reported that it was “slammed with customers buying sweets, soda and other items.”
And in a Sunday update, By wrote on Twitter: “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.”
The By family is not new to doughnuts: Satharith By came to the U.S. as a refugee from Cambodia and opened a doughnut shop in Southern California about 20 years ago, Billy By said.
The family sold the shop to a relative when By's mom got sick a few years back. When she recovered, the family opened the new shop in Texas.
"He came here about 20, 30 years ago to find a better life and this is it," Billy By said, referring to his dad.
"Right now, I'm very happy," Satharith By said.
"Thank you for the community," he later added. "And thank you for the customer that come."