In 2012, Jeff Whitman moved from Connecticut, where he was born and raised, to the Miami area for a job with Coca-Cola. The veteran forklift operator had spent 20 years working for another beverage company, but decided he’d look better in red.

“It’s nice,” he says, “to now be working for the world’s number-one beverage company.”

Jeff was also drawn to the ocean.

“I live about a quarter-mile from the beach, in Hollywood, Florida, and can’t imagine anywhere else I’d rather be,” he said with very little trace of a Northern accent. He and his wife are both avid runners and yogis, and spend as much time as possible enjoying the sunny South Florida climate.

One element of coastal living he hadn’t experienced until last fall, however, was Hurricane Season. In September, Hurricane Irma became the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida in a dozen years. The powerful storm hit Jeff’s house hard, causing significant damage. He qualified to receive funds from the Coca-Cola Company Employee Disaster Relief Fund.

“We’re just now getting back to normal,” he said.

But despite the hardship of being displaced from his home, Jeff was working alongside his Coca-Cola Beverages Florida colleagues in Irma’s immediate aftermath, loading up trucks to deliver bottled water and other beverages to shelters all the way down to Key West.

Thousands of individuals and businesses were not prepared for Irma. Fortunately, for the local communities it serves, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida was.

‘We have an off-site warehouse that keeps hundreds of cases of DASANI water in the event of a situation like Irma,” Jeff says. “It felt great to know were helping out people and customers across the region.”

He’s also proud of the fact that Coca-Cola Beverages Florida takes steps to preserve the environment by reducing its water and energy use and supporting community recycling and tree planting programs and efforts to convert recycled Coca-Cola syrup drums into rain barrels.

“All of us are passionate about preserving our planet, starting right here in our own backyard,” Jeff said.

Jeff is one of several Coke employees featured in the new ad, titled “Dear Future”, which highlights the company’s total beverage portfolio – from ZICO Coconut Water, to Odwalla juice, to smartwater – and shows how its people are striving to do good in the local communities they call home through a focus on education, environmental stewardship, disaster relief and more.

“It was an incredible experience,” Jeff said. “My boss put me up to it. I read the script and they liked me enough to call me back for a final audition in Miami. A week later, I had the part. I was surprised at how relaxed I was during the shoot, probably because I was ‘portraying’ myself.”

He’s enjoying his 15 minutes of fame. “The last few weeks have been fun,” he said. “My coworkers keep saying, ‘Make way for the movie star’.”