John Whesper and Fresca joined the Coca-Cola family in the same year: 1968.

Now, more than 50 years later, the Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages delivery driver and citrus-flavored soft drink brand are both still going strong.

Whesper is one of several Coca-Cola employees featured in the “Dear Future” campaign, which highlights the company’s total beverage portfolio and shows how its people are striving to do good in the local communities they call home.

Dear Future Print

Fresh out of high school, Whesper followed a tip from his older brother and applied for a job with what was then the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York, based in Newark.

“My brother was a district sales manager,” Whesper recalls. “He told me to show up on Monday morning and fill out some paperwork, and to bring my driver’s license. I spent three days on a route with my manager. On the fourth day, I was on my own.”

The first stop he made was to a small A&P. “Everything was in glass bottles back then. I’d roll in the cases on a one-handle iron cart, fill up the shelves and go to the back room and collect the empties to load back onto the truck. From there, I’d visit mom-and-pops – a deli, a butcher shop, a corner store. And the truck would stay parked in the same spot. I’d stop by once a week and deliver a few cases.”

He has seen a lot of change during his five decades with Coke. When he started, he delivered a handful of products to a handful of small customers. Now he says he can’t count the number of SKUs he delivers to large supermarkets and mass retailers. His employer has changed ownership a few times, from Coca-Cola Enterprises, to Coca-Cola Refreshments, to Liberty Coca-Cola, and he’s worked in seven distribution centers in his region, from Asbury Park to Parsippany to South Brunswick.

John Whesper
Whesper and fellow Coca-Cola colleagues featured in the 'Dear Future' campaign were honored during a recent event at the company's global headquarters in Atlanta.

What has remained constant is his passion for the communities he serves and the pride he takes in being part of the Coca-Cola family.

“I love the people, and I work for a great company,” said the self-proclaimed beach lover, who lives with his wife on the Jersey Shore. “When I go somewhere wearing my Coke shirt, people always ask me about it. And that makes me proud.”