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Scores of graduates line up in cars for free doughnuts at Krispy Kreme in Spokane Valley

UPDATED: Tue., May 19, 2020

University High School senior Victoria McGrath finds a perch while waiting in line for a free Krispy Kreme “graduation dozen” doughnuts on Tuesday in Spokane Valley. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
University High School senior Victoria McGrath finds a perch while waiting in line for a free Krispy Kreme “graduation dozen” doughnuts on Tuesday in Spokane Valley. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Dozens of cars backed up on Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley on Tuesday afternoon to get a “graduate dozen” from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

Krispy Kreme handed out free boxes of doughnuts to 2020 high school and college graduates in the wake of graduation ceremony cancellations nationwide because of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Whitworth University graduates Lindsey Moon and Liah Gingerich waited in their car for more than two hours in their caps and gowns to get their freebies.

“We probably should have left sooner,” Gingerich said.

The two arrived at Krispy Kreme midmorning but were still waiting for doughnuts at 1 p.m.

“We’re too far in now,” Moon said. “Besides, we have nothing else to do.”

Krispy Kreme required graduates to bring proof they were graduating in 2020, and the pair’s cap, gown and tassel ensemble fit the bill.

“We just went all out,” Gingerich said.

The graduates finished online classes last week and said they were preparing to move in the near future. Moon has a job lined up, but Gingerich is still looking.

“I feel like there’s a lot less pressure to get a job,” because of the pandemic, Gingerich said.

A few cars ahead of the college graduates, Mead High School graduate Megan Findley said she had seen “ads everywhere” for the graduate dozen event.

After two hours of waiting, Findley finally was about to get her doughnuts, despite one fact: She’s gluten intolerant and couldn’t eat them.

Findley decided to get her graduate dozen “just to say she did it,” and share the doughnuts with her family.

The line of cars wrapped around the Krispy Kreme parking lot out onto Indiana Avenue and north around the corner onto Sullivan, across the Spokane River up to Sullivan Park. A graduate dozen initially was an assortment of donuts but because of the large volume of customer traffic, many shops ran out and instead began offering original glazed dozens, according to the Krispy Kreme website.

Krispy Kreme did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the number of graduate dozens given away at its Spokane Valley location.

Carson Oliver, her boyfriend, Brandon Kuhn, and Peyton McQueary made the best of the long wait and stopped at the nearby Arby’s to get lunch before downing their doughnuts.

Oliver said she knew to expect a long wait after watching a friend on Instagram chronicle the process of picking up her graduate dozen earlier in the day.

“I love Krispy Kreme,” Oliver said.

McQueary said the past few weeks of online learning have been “really strange,” especially since she is studying American Sign Language. McQueary has an interpreter job lined up in the near future but said the pandemic has inspired her to become a medical ASL interpreter after gaining some work experience.

“It can be a life-and-death situation,” McQueary said of medical ASL interpreting.

Despite the time spent in the Krispy Kreme line, all three said the doughnuts were definitely worth the wait.

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