All she wanted for Christmas was a portable restroom … And a Canadian PRO was happy to oblige

All she wanted for Christmas was a portable restroom … And a Canadian PRO was happy to oblige
Dan Grenier, right, made three-year-old Hannah Palmer's Christmas wish come true with this PolyJohn restroom.

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By nature of the business, liquid-waste professionals wear many hats. But Dan Grenier added a novel new one to the list this past holiday – a red Santa hat – enroute to helping a little girl receive a most unusual Christmas gift. 

The co-owner of Porta-Plus Portables in Guelph, Ontario, assumed his role as jolly old St. Nick after taking a phone call from Emma Palmer, also of Guelph, about one week before Christmas. Turns out that Palmer’s three-year-old daughter, Hannah, didn’t want a doll or even two front teeth for Christmas; she wanted a portable restroom. 

“At first, I thought it was my friends playing a joke on me, because they’ve attempted it before,” Grenier says. “I thought they got a woman on the phone this time to throw me off. 

“But as I listened to her story a little more, I realized she was very serious about renting a restroom for her little girl,” he continues. “We’d had a couple units out at a renovation project at a public school just around the corner from her house, and for some reason, her daughter was fixated with them.”

Palmer had talked to a dozen other area operators who wanted to either charge full price or declined to rent her a restroom. Grenier decided he could do it for $50 to cover the fuel and labor it would take to drop off and pick up a unit. 

On Christmas Eve, Grenier delivered the unit while Hannah was at a grandparents’ house. He put it in a corner of the driveway and covered it with a tarp so Hannah wouldn’t see it. Later that day, he returned with a gift bag containing a small coin bank shaped like a portable restroom. It held a surprise for Hannah’s parents: the $50 they gave him for the rental fee. 

“That way she could always have a restroom, and they could put the money in an education fund,” Grenier explains. “They were concerned how Hannah would react when I came to take away the restroom, and I figured the penny bank ­­– which I got from PolyJohn – would help ease the transition.” 

Come the next morning, Hannah was disappointed when she didn’t see a portable restroom under the family’s Christmas tree. But she was elated when her parents led her outside and removed the tarp, revealing the restroom, complete with a bow attached. 

“She wouldn’t even use the washroom inside the house while that unit was outside,” chuckles Grenier, who picked up the restroom the following weekend, under the guise that he was one of Santa’s elves assigned to bring the unit back to the North Pole. 

All in all, Grenier enjoyed his brief stint as Santa Dan, noting he was happy to help make the little girl’s Christmas wish come true. And one imagines that Hannah’s parents are hoping that the gift their daughter wants most next Christmas will more easily fit down a chimney.


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