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Holladay community rallies to help husband-and-wife shop owners after surgery leaves wife in coma

Posted at 6:47 PM, Dec 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-12 20:47:32-05

HOLLADAY, Utah — Community members in Holladay are rallying to help keep a mom-and-pop shop open after the owners suffered a medical hardship.

The couple who owns Top It, a frozen yogurt and Thai food shop, is known for their community service, and although frozen yogurt isn't typical winter fare, Top It offers what customers crave.

Customers filtered in Wednesday afternoon while flakes of snow fell outside.

"We always just have so much fun," said 9-year old Gianna Farhart, who comes to Top It with her family often.

Olympus High School senior Brooklyn Randle called Top It, "a happy and fun place."

"I come here with my friends," she said. "It's just a fun place where you can hang out, and just talk with people."

A huge part of what makes the froyo and Thai food shop so welcoming, customers explained, is the couple who owns it — Pawitt and Sohka Numnuan.

"These two are probably the most caring people I know," Holladay resident Jen Wunderli said.

Brooklyn said Pawitt and Sohka Numnuan talk with the customers and build a bond with them. They're always behind the counter together. At least, they were — until about a month ago.

Customers began noticing half of the husband-wife pair wasn't there to greet them with a smiling face.

Behind the register, a new sign hung on the wall.

"We saw the sign on the wall, right, that said, 'Get well Sohka,'" Sari Farhart said. Her daughter, Gianna, said the family asked what was going on.

In speaking with Pawitt, they learned Sohka became hospitalized from a surgery.

Pawitt explained Sohka was in a coma with brain damage.

That left him to run the shop alone, 12 hours a day, six days a week. On top of that, Pawitt was spending hours each day by his wife's side at the hospital.

"I love her," Pawitt said. "I want to see her every minute."

Sohka isn't conscious, but Pawitt said he sits and talks to his wife every day.

"I whisper her, every day, each visit," he said. "I say, 'Honey, everybody love you, everybody miss you.'"

And everybody, upon hearing the news, became concerned for the couple and the future of the business.

"Pawitt needs help. He needs help," Wunderli said. "He needs us, and he has done a lot for our community too."

Wunderli is the Director for the non-profit Friend-to-Friend. She immediately enlisted the help of the high school kids who serve as volunteers.

Families from Wunderli's church ward also jumped in to help.

"Instantly, how can I help?" said Randle, who volunteers for Friend-to-Friend. "I want this place to be here."

Another Friend-to-Friend volunteer and Olympus High School sophomore, Tyler Frederick, expressed a similar sentiment.

"We can't lose Top It," Tyler said. "This place has too many good memories."

Wunderli said they have afternoon shifts covered all six days of the week.

Customers have also been helping by patronizing the business and leaving extra tips.

All to keep the shop running for Pawitt, so he can focus on caring for Sohka.

"I feel so grateful, I feel so honor[ed]," Pawitt said. "I feel happy that everybody care [for] my family."

Contributions are accepted at the U.S. Bank in Holladay under the name Sohka, Pawitt or Top It Yogurt Donation Fund.

Organizers say other U.S. Banks can accept donations for the Top It Yogurt Donation Fund.