This weekend while I was out and about running errands, I stopped and talked to a few people who I may not have. Not because I don’t regularly talk to strangers but because I was just trying to get in and get out. I was wearing a shirt that my best friend had given me. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that my best friend’s name is Alvia and she works for the Coca-Cola Foundation. With that said, I’m sure you have guessed that I have plenty of Coke paraphernalia. Well, I was wearing the following shirt:
This ad initially came out in 1971. I’m not sure how long it played but I remember seeing it and singing along. It is considered to be one of the, if not the most, popular commercial. At the very least, it was Coke’s most memorable commercial. The jingle was very catchy and it brought so many people together. In fact, it felt very joyful, peaceful and inclusive. If you’d like to read more about this particular jingle and commercial, you can check it out here.
Anyway, back to my story…I was walking into my local Sam’s Club when I was stopped by a family loading their groceries into their SUV. The mom smiled and stated how she remembers the commercial. She even mentioned the final scene in Mad Men when Mr. Draper “created” the ad. We chatted about times long gone and had an instant camaraderie via our shared reminiscence. It was a lovely moment. Later that day I was shopping in Publix. Yes, I go to two different stores when I go grocery shopping. Don’t judge me. As I was walking down one of the aisles, I noticed this elderly gentleman in one of those motorized riding carts. He stopped briefly but then continued on down the aisle. He kind of looked like he wanted to say something but he didn’t. Ah well. Eventually, I ran into him again. He stopped his cart right next to me as I was perusing the health bars on the aisle. He then told me, “You know, I once did a sermon on Coke and Pepsi.” He then continued on to tell me how he compared Coke being “The Real Thing” and Pepsi being “The Right One”. He then said he asked his congregation if they wanted a god that was the Real Thing or a god that was the Right One. I thought that was an interesting premise. We talked for a few moments more about how he was trying to take better care of himself and pay more attention to his health. He then bid me a blessed day and proceeded to hand me a card to join him in in-home Bible study. When I told my husband about this encounter, I could see him giving me the side-eye. I reassured him that this elderly man, who looked like he was in his 80s and riding a motorized shopping cart, was not trying to hit on me.
Throughout my shopping I had several people see my shirt and smile, knowingly. It’s amazing how something as simple as a shirt or an ad slogan can bring people together. I find that whatever is on a person’s shirt reflects their personality. Okay, sports shirts reflect their favorite teams, except in my case. My husband is from Boston, ergo he is a Patriots fan. I can’t really say that I am a fan but it is assumed so because of association. I do have some Patriots gear that I wear but not because I like the patriots but because they are really cute shirts! Mind you, that gear was given to me by either my husband or his mother. Even when I wear those out I will get someone who will say, “Hey, nice shirt!” All of this makes me think how easy it is for all of us to see what we have in common with strangers than what is different. I just wish we all spent a little more time on the positive instead of the negative. Until then, I’ll keep wearing my shirt as a reminder of our shared likenesses and the happiness we should all espouse to spread.