While other boys have an affinity for trains and trucks, 4-year-old Dustin Kruse has far different interests. He prefers toilets.
His parents dismissed his curiosity as a phase, but it turned out to be much more: Dustin potty trained himself by the time he was 2 years old, and his appreciation for urinals, port-a-potties, and bathrooms continued.
For his fourth birthday, Dustin begged his parents to take him to the Kohler Design Center, a three-story showcase of Kohler kitchen and bath product located in Kohler, Wisconsin, 70 miles north of his family’s home in New Berlin.
“Dustin first visited the KOHLER Design Center when he was 3,” says mother Michele Kruse. “What was intended to be a quick walk-through turned into a two-and-a-half-hour visit—he was in heaven.”
Michele recalls Dustin checking out all the toilets on display and learning about bidets and dual-flush technology from the in-house designers. “He even took it upon himself to explain how to use a dual-flush toilet to fellow visitors,” Michele says.
As he looked at his stack of product brochures on the way home, Dustin said, “For Christmas, I’m asking Santa for a full-flush half-flush toilet.”
But recent financial hardship meant Michele and her husband Jim couldn’t make their son’s wish come true.
Not alone, at least. So Michele wrote a letter to Kohler that eventually made its way to John Bashaw, director of Kohler Customer Service, and onto president and chief operating officer David Kohler; the company decided to gift a dual-flush toilet to Dustin and his family.
“This was a unique opportunity to show our appreciation for one of our most passionate customers,” Bashaw says, who coordinated a special delivery: A Kohler truck took a Persuade Dual Flush toilet wrapped in a big red ribbon to the Kruse’s home, and Dustin eagerly looked on as his “full-flush half-flush toilet” was installed.
“There are no words to describe the happiness of seeing your little boy’s dreams come true,” Michele says. “We’re so grateful and blessed Kohler made this possible.”
A Santa Claus who pulled a Texas man from a vehicle before it exploded said he was on his way to deliver toys to needy families.
Brad Luddeke, a former volunteer firefighter, was photographed directing traffic in a Santa suit Tuesday after pulling a man from his burning car following a two-car collision.
“As soon as I grabbed his jacket and pulled him away, I said, ‘Your car’s on fire,’” Luddeke said. “We turned to leave, and I guess the battery exploded. And that’s when everything went up.”
Luddeke, who lost his 17-year-old son in an automobile crash seven years ago, said he will still be delivering the toys.
“Santa won’t be late this year kids,” he said. “Santa was just helping out when needed.”
If you are in Berlin this Christmas season, you should avoid taking drinks from strangers and Santa’s.
A teenage girl fell ill at a Berlin market after accepting a drink from a man dressed as Santa Claus, in the eighth suspected poisoning case to hit Christmas markets in the German capital in a week.
The 15-year-old suffered vomiting and short-term memory loss Saturday after the unidentified man offered her a paper cup containing alcohol at the market in Berlin, the German news agency DPA reported.
Doctors later confirmed that an unidentified substance was mixed into the drink.
It remained unclear whether the man dressed as Santa was the same man who allegedly poisoned at least seven other people in the city’s Christmas markets over the past week.
The suspect, believed to be in his 40s, first struck by offering two foreign visitors free alcohol, telling the pair that he was celebrating becoming a father.
She may have ruined Christmas for her second-grade students, but at least she’s sorry.
The elementary school teacher vilified for telling a class full of 7 and 8-year-olds that Santa doesn’t exist has finally apologized for the epic blunder. Leatrice Ann Eng, 58, called each of the students’ parents with a yuletide mea culpa for her gaffe.
“It’s sad; she was wrong,” said Irene Hoffman, a mother of three students at George W. Miller Elementary School in Nanuet. “This whole thing is being blown out of proportion. I think we should focus on our children’s education, and just move on.”
Eng was in the middle of a lesson about the North Pole on Tuesday when one of her students pointed out that that was where Santa Claus lives. The educator snapped that not only was there no Santa, but their parents are the ones who leave presents under the tree.
Foul-mouthed UK parents verbally abused Santa’s elves and fairies at a Christmas grotto when they heard their Groupon deal promising a magical Christmas train ride was invalid.
The grumpy grotto group shouted at a woman dressed as a Christmas Tree and upset staff so much that one of the elves resigned. Penny Ward, who organised the grotto, was shocked when almost 2,000 families turned up with vouchers from the discount website Groupon, which had mistakenly sent an email to customers saying that there would be a train ride around the winter wonderland.
When parents discovered there was no train ride, and the queues to the grotto became so long that their children couldn’t get in, some parents began swearing at staff, who were dressed as elves, fairies and a Christmas tree.
Penny said: “One man even verbally threatened the lady who is dressed as a Christmas tree. One of the elves was so upset that she has resigned. It was a complete nightmare. Children were crying and upset.”
Organiser Penny said most of the abusive parents had come down to the grotto in York with their vouchers from Newcastle during last weekend’s St Nicholas Fayre, a popular Christmas market in the picturesque city. She said the grotto was only able to handle 40 children an hour, but dedicated staff had worked beyond their normal hours and without breaks to try to ensure excited children did not miss out.
Penny had initially been contacted by Groupon and agreed to use its services to help publicise the grotto, but she claimed she had never signed a contract and had never said there would be a train ride.
She thought the York grotto, which runs in York’s winter wonderland until Christmas Eve, might have been mixed up with a grotto she ran in Hull, where there was a train ride.
A Groupon spokesman said: “Owing to a technical error, we apologise that the picture and wording used in this promotion may have indicated that a train ride was available at York Winter Wonderland when this wasn’t the case. We regret any disappointment this may have caused.”
UK parents, don’t blame Father Christmas if he doesn’t allow your child to sit on his knee at a school event — teachers may have banned him from coming into contact with youngsters.
As is typical of our ‘over-reaction’ society, while those playing Father Christmas are no longer required to pass a Criminal Records Bureau check, many schools have decided to “err on the side of caution” and impose rules on grotto behaviour.
Parents who have offered to don the red suit have been told they must not allow youngsters to sit on their laps and cannot be left alone with them. Because CRB checks are required only for volunteers who have regular contact with children, Father Christmases are exempt.
However, government guidance states: “Under no circumstances must a volunteer who has not obtained a CRB disclosure … be left unsupervised with children.”
Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said this meant many of its members had decided it was better if Father Christmases avoided all physical contact with children.
“The climate we work in, and the risks of getting it wrong, mean many school leaders err on the side of caution,” he said. “And if you are going to ‘err’ I think that’s the side most parents would prefer.”
A spokesman for the Department for Education said children could still sit on Father Christmas’s knee as long as parents were consulted and were “completely comfortable” with the situation.
“Santas in schools should be treated in the same way that other visitors to the school are managed. Our guidance recommends that for such visitors a member of staff is present,” added the spokesman.