posted by Matt W on August 28th, 2013

The other day I called my son when he happened to be hanging out with his girlfriend on Green Lake in Seattle. I said, “Oh, I will let you go but the house I lived in when I was a little kid is just down the street from where you parked. You should drive by. Oh, and get yourself some Spud’s and a Diet Coke.” (Spud’s is a fish and chips joint also down the street.) The conversation started me thinking about that childhood house.

There are three things I remember about that house. First, my parents’ bedroom was in the basement and really scary and dark at night. Second, my dad built a jungle gym in the backyard out of pipe that was really cool to play on until the much older next-door neighbor kid broke his arm falling off it. I can’t remember if my dad took down the homemade jungle gym or if I just got banned from it, but either way I couldn’t play on it anymore because some high school kid was being an idiot. (My dad verified the scary bedroom and killer jungle gym on the phone when I asked for the address later that day.)

The third thing I remember is by far my strongest memory. One day, I was sitting on the back fence looking out on the alley with a buddy. We were probably told we couldn’t go out of the yard; so on top of the fence was the logical destination. At the end of the alley was the back entrance to a little corner grocer. Well, a Coca-Cola truck drives down the back alley on its way to the store. He stops right in front of us. The driver gets out of his truck, walks to the back, rolls up the door, and grabs two bottles of Coke. He walks over and pops the tops for us, asks us how we’re doing, and goes on his way to his delivery. There were two incredibly happy little kids that day. My daughter always wants me to tell her that story because she thinks it’s so cute.

I’ve been an incredibly loyal Coke products person ever since. During college I switched to Diet Coke as my girlfriend always had a few 2 liter bottles around and it’s probably a good thing as I’ve gotten older and fatter since then. I’ve always thought it would be a good commercial to show the little kids on a fence and then cut 40 years later to someone in a restaurant saying “No, I only drink Diet Coke” after the waiter asked if diet pepsi was okay. Later showing them pulling through the McDonald’s drive through on the way home for a fountain Diet Coke. I’ve done it many times.

44 years ago, one man stopped in an alley and was nice to two little kids. One of them has been a loyal customer ever since, not to mention that now his kids drink Coke products as well. Now that was a pretty good return on investment.

File Under Jack of all Trades