There are so many working pieces and so many moving parts that come together to make Coca-Cola such an amazing system. I recently had the opportunity to capture a day in the life of one of Coke's veteran delivery drivers, Barry Wilkins.

Barry has been “delivering happiness” for more than 20 years. After working for the company in New York City for 17 years, he felt it was time for a change. He expressed his desire to move to Atlanta, but only if he could continue doing what he loved and stay with the company he had worked so hard for over the years. We are lucky to have had him in Atlanta for the past four years working hard to keep our customers happy and our shelves stocked.

Our day started off at Dunwoody Distribution Center at 5 a.m. on the dot. Talk about a major adjustment! We took a short ride out to Kennesaw, Ga. to our first stop, Walgreens. After explaining the work that we’d be doing, Barry taught me how to work the platform on the back of the truck, which ended up being one of my favorite jobs for the day. We unloaded and wheeled cases upon cases of product into the store and, immediately, two ladies greeted us at the door. They both cried out "Barry!" with joy and excitement. Their faces lit up as they exchanged some playful banter and took count of the inventory. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I’m not exactly cheery that early in the morning!

Brittnee Jones with Coca-Cola truck driver Barry Wilkins
Long-time truck driver Barry Wilkins is the face of Coca-Cola to the customers on his delivery route.

I was shocked. As we entered store after store, customers were filled with joy. My beloved companion was so appreciated. He addressed all customers by first name and was able to fulfill their orders exactly how they wanted. They all kept up jokes that had clearly been running over the years and bragged about how great Barry was at his job.

What was even more astounding was that stop after stop, he never lost the cheeriness he had when he picked me up that morning from the distribution center – and, let me tell you, we worked a 12-hour day stocking shelves and refrigerators with hundreds of cases of product. He truly loves what he does and it shows during every stop, on every shelf and display.

I had such a wonderful experience and learned so much about how each and every person builds this company to the wonder that it is. He taught me some of the tricks of his trade and how he increases efficiency. He taught me that customers really value those relationships and the knowledge he brings about the products. He taught me that every single person in this company brings a skill to the table that helps build on this empire. This experience was truly invaluable, and it is times like these when we are able to put the pieces together and learn how the Coca-Cola system operates.

Coca-Cola is more than just a company. We are an organization that strives to deliver happiness to each and every one of our customers every day. It is people like Barry and other drivers and merchandisers who give this company a face. I think by now we’ve all learned that the secret formula to Coca-Cola is the people who bring it to life.

Brittnee Jones is a brand & business communications intern at The Coca-Cola Company.