Just yesterday, our 2.5-year-old son, asked our daughter (who is 4.5 years old) what Valentine’s Day was. In earshot, we heard her response. “Oh, it is a day when there are lots of hearts all over the place,”  she said, opening the door to a wonderful story about how her Mommy and Daddy got together.

They say Paris is the City of Love. But with both Derk and I living and working in Coca-Cola France for five years, it wasn’t until the tail end of our respective assignments, in February 2006 to be exact, that we began our relationship as a couple. And Valentine’s Day marked quite the turning point.

I was actually traveling on business that day, a mere couple of weeks after we had our first date. I received an anonymous text to my phone, in French, that said, “Where is my Valentine?” I wasn’t sure it was Derk – and it felt presumptuous to think it was – but I could not imagine it was anyone else.  I took the leap and called him up. And the rest, as they say, is history.

A Coca-Cola Love Story

Derk and I were engaged in July 2006, and we married two months later in the birthplace of my ancestors in Vallelunga, Sicily, in true, fairy-tale fashion and with Coca-Cola front and center.

Seven years and two children later, our story continues.

Collectively, Derk and I have worked at The Coca-Cola Company for more than 35 years, but have only been together a fraction of those years as a couple. We both get asked all of the time, “What is it like to work at the same company?” Actually, until just last year, we even worked in the same department.

We don’t know life any other way, and honestly, cannot imagine it any other way. It is a seamless weave, and it certainly sheds a whole other dimension on our love for our Company and our brands when you can claim they also helped you find the love of your life!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Rebecca Messina is SVP of Marketing and Innovation, Venturing & Emerging Brands, and Derk Hendriksen is General Manager, EKOCENTER.