A Human Perspective

Daughter of Coke bottler revisits childhood memories of Coca-Cola

Delores Riley can definitely talk about her Coca-Cola.

Her father, Charlie Balis McKinney, began working at the Starke, Fla. bottling plant when he was 13 years old. He worked there throughout his working life, retiring in 1984.

He reported to the botting plant, but Riley said her dad's actual job was to service and paint Coca-Cola vending machines.

So what are the advantages of a father working in Coca-Cola?

Well discounts for one. Mckinney said that she used to get discounts on Coca-Cola all the time. But another added perk really helped her and her family out during a hot Florida summer.

"Dad brought home the Icee machine over for a couple of weeks," Riley recalls. "We all loved it."

And of course, working at Coke comes with all kinds of memoribilia. McKinney has a lot of Coke signs, pitchers and bottles in her home. But she said her favorite was the Christmas display her dad was able to bring home.

The three-foot tall Santa Clause in his sleigh was originally used as a window display at a grocer. When Coke retired its usage, McKinney brought it home with him.

"We used to put it up in the yard every Christmas," Riley said.

Riley said the best thing about her dad working for Coke was just the satisfaction he got out of it.

"He enjoyed his job," Riley said. "He enjoyed doing what he was doing.

Even though she could probably have all the Coca-Cola she could drink, she said that she never got tired of the beverage. She still drinks Coke now, but not as much as she used to.

"Actually, I didn't drink that much even when he worked there," she said with a laugh.

Since most Coke bottling have no switched to machines, the Coke bottling plant in Starke has been closed down, but Coca-Cola will always be an integral part of the McKinney family.

About this Site | Bibliography