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.”