Many of the Coca-Cola Stories I read tell of how Coke was a simple reminder of home when someone was away from family or overseas.
During World War II, that certainly was the case.
I found this story in an old Coca-Cola magazine, called The Red Barrel, from September 1944. Our magazine was reprinting a story from the July 29 Army Times newspaper.
Bottle of Coke, Birthday Gift, Brings Joy to Bed-Ridden Yank
GEORGE FIELD, Illinois -- How a mere bottle of carbonated beverage brought a flood of tears and happiness to a Yank patient in a hospital in New Guinea is revealed in a letter received here recently by a civilian employee from a former Red Cross worker at George Field. Excerpts from the letter follow:
“I am somewhere in New Guinea ... it is tropical in climate and rather difficult to become used to. … We folks over here will never take things for granted again, things that we regard as necessities are now luxuries, and I'm sure they will remain so to us.
“The problem of birthday cakes for patients and other small items can really be a problem. So far we've always managed somehow to have something. One of the boys had been hovering between life and death for weeks. One day when he awoke, he realized that it was his birthday. It was too late to have a cake for him and he was on a liquid diet anyway. Someone had promised me a bottle of coke, so I collected it, wrapped it up fancy, and trotted over. You've never seen such a look of joy on anyone’s face.
When I left, he lay there clutching the Coke to his breast ... smiling ... with tears rolling down his cheeks, saying over and over, “Lord bless you ... Miss.” That guy knew how ‘impossible’ it is to get a Coke as it was the first he had seen since he left the ‘Old Country.’”
That’s a bit more dramatic than most of our stories, but the truth is that Coca-Cola is a simple moment of pleasure and a familiar item when you’re away. It certainly was for this man.
Do you have a Coca-Cola Story (from today or 50 years ago)? Share it with me!
More on Journey
- A Slice of Coca-Cola History: Beloved Kentucky Bottling Plant Reborn as Mellow Mushroom Pizzeria
- 5 Artists Who Will Transform How You See Coca-Cola
- The Story of Frank O'Hara's ‘Having a Coke With You’ Poem
- ‘What is Coca-Cola?’ Why the Brand Has Appeared on Jeopardy! 200+ Times
- Rio de Janeiro: The Enchanted Kingdom of Two Carnivals