They say a picture is worth a thousand words. These photos of Julio Zamora Hernandez are, arguably, each worth a hundred years.

While reflecting on my travels celebrating the iconic Coca-Cola bottle's 100-year milestone with the Coke Bottle Art Tour, which took me to four countries on two continents, these photos of Mr. Hernandez at the tour in Mexico City in July stand out as a highlight.

As Mr. Hernandez arrived at the exhibit, he pointed to a sign that read "Celebrating 100 Years" and noted to one of our tour guides that he, too, was turning 100. Mr. Hernandez became the center of attention as many guests began taking pictures with the 100-year-young "birthday boy", including Gabriel Romero (pictured below), Mexico's biggest Coca-Cola collector. Mr. Hernandez posed as he took swigs of the famous bottle of the same age.

Luis Murillo

Although Mr. Hernandez was only one of 37,000 people to visit the Bottle Art Tour in Mexico, his visit truly captures what the brand is all about.

People have chosen to invite Coca-Cola into their lives, and in doing so, have invited its package along with it into their moments, art, music and more. Mr. Hernandez, who is originally from Cordoba, Mexico, first invited the pause that refreshes as a teenager on a trip to the local theater with his buddies. During the movie's intermission, he enjoyed his first glass bottle of Coca-Cola.

"There were other drinks,” he recalled, “but Coke was very popular to drink and I felt ‘cool’ drinking it."

Luis Murillo

He remembers buying Coca-Cola bottles in crates for his family and returning the empties to the store. An avid runner, Mr. Hernandez made his living as a "zapatero", or a shoemaker.

Being able to invite fans such as Mr. Hernandez to the celebration of the bottle is a worthy endeavor, but the fact that he chose to spend his birthday with us is what's the most special!

Mr. Hernandez and the Coca-Cola Bottle, Happy Birthday to you both!

 

Jamal Booker is manager of Heritage Communications at The Coca-Cola Company.