Linda grew up watching NASCAR with her family. So when she recently went online and came across
While this was a fantastic opportunity, Linda’s job requires at least two months notice before receiving time off. Normally, Linda would’ve gone through her normal process to ask for time off, but something told her to circumvent the process and go directly to the Director to ask, and she followed her gut. She explained the situation and her Director was overjoyed by her win. Without hesitation she changed the schedule to include Linda’s time off.
Linda was prepared to come to Atlanta with her husband when an important meeting for work came up and he couldn’t go. So she asked her sister, Anita White, to go to Atlanta with her.
Anita’s late husband, Ron Burnette, who passed away two years ago, loved NASCAR and driver Tony Stewart. Linda described Ron as a nice guy who had a dream to visit a NASCAR track. Unfortunately, Ron never got that opportunity. Anita was excited to honor and remember Ron by living out his dream.
Just a couple of weeks later, Linda and Anita were at the Atlanta Motor Speedway getting ready for their ride along with a
Linda and Anita couldn’t be any happier. Here they were at a NASCAR track getting ready to ride with Tony Stewart. They couldn’t help but think Ron’s spirit was close by helping to make all of this happen.
According to the New York Times, Tony Stewart is known as “one of the finest racers of his generation.” Before coming to NASCAR, he was a four-time USAC champion and the 1997 IndyCar Series champion. And in NASCAR, Stewart has burnished his legend by becoming a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion with 47 career wins, four of which include the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2005, 2006, 2009 and 2012). Linda spoke highly of Tony: “He has a great personality, a nice and friendly man.” Tony talked and joked with Linda just a bit before they zoomed around the track. A bit more nervous than Linda, Anita was immediately calmed by Tony; she felt Ron’s spirit with her as she rode around the track with his favorite driver.
Linda wrote a letter to thank everyone for the experience:
I just wanted to thank the
Coca-Colafamily for always being authentic and professional. My sister and I made a connection with each and every Coca-Colaemployee and they made us feel so special. I was so impressed with the Coca-Colaemployees; it seemed they really loved their jobs.
Every time I think about the ride along I can’t stop smiling. I talk about it at work and I was just impressed with the whole organization, from the airport ride to the hotel. In the hospitality room everyone was genuine and so friendly. We were treated wonderfully. The hotel in Atlanta was amazing – first class. Of course my ride with Tony Stewart was the biggest highlight of my life, he was such a sweetheart and Richard Petty was adorable and I loved learning about him as well.
Coca-Colais more than just a company, Coca-Colais a family. This experience was everything I expected and more.