When Krispy Kreme announced its 75th birthday celebration this year, one of the most anticipated party favors was the Glaze the Nation Tour that featured the Krispy Kreme Cruiser crisscrossing the U.S. to greet fans in person.
The silver-and-green Cruiser was unveiled at the Daytona Beach 500 in February and hit the road in late April. It started out in the Southeast and has worked the Eastern seaboard from Florida to Connecticut. The latter half of 2012 will be spent winding the highways along the Midwest and West Coast.
Ron and Kim Schields, married 39 years, man the Cruiser. Ron drives, Kim handles the Cruiser’s social media, and both excitedly greet fans at college campuses, store openings, Krispy Kreme parking lots, state visitors’ centers, or wherever else the bus may end up.
“It’s amazing the attention that the bus draws,” Kim says. “The kids just love it.”
The Cruiser is a refurbished 1960 Flxible Starliner Coach. A team repainted the coach in shiny green fashion and rebuffed the original aluminum siding to complete the metallic look. The entire process was captured by Velocity Channel’s reality TV show “Outcast Kustoms.”
Inside, the cruiser resembles a Krispy Kreme store. It has a countertop, glass case full of doughnuts, and a red leather booth. Even the pillow on the twin size bed flashes a red Krispy Kreme logo.
The couples’ favorite stops thus far have been the college campuses, which included the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech.
“That was fabulous,” Kim says. “Both times we were there, it was during study break week for finals, and we ran out of doughnuts!”
Later on the tour, Kim ran into a student who had visited the cruiser at Virginia Tech, “and she told me, ‘You saved my life. You helped me get through finals,’” she says. “That’s so great. We’re really hoping to do more events like that.”
On June 1, Ron drove the Cruiser into the heart of New York City and the Schields’ rang the stock exchange bell to herald in National Donut Day. It was their first time in New York.
Kim and Ron Schields had no previous affiliation with Krispy Kreme. In fact, they moved to North Carolina in 2009 chasing a very different dream: to be motorcoach drivers for a NASCAR team.
Having lived in the Midwest their whole lives, the Schields wanted to stop making snowmen every winter and move somewhere warmer. They waited until the last of their seven children left for college, sold their house in two weeks, and packed up for North Carolina.
After two years of trying to break into NASCAR to no avail, their resume passed across the desk of someone who had been looking for a two-person team to drive a specialized motor coach: the Cruiser. They accepted the job immediately.
“We’re having a great time,” Kim says. “Ron and I have always loved to travel. What a perfect job; we get paid to do it and we get to see the country, and we’re going to places we’ve never been before. We’re pinching ourselves.”
By Sonya Chudgar