Coke contest: Construction worker hopes caps really spell real thing

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 30, 2001

Claude Steve Jones throws the winning Diet Coke caps that spell “kitchen” into the air Thursday. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[03/30/01] When Claude Steve Jones twisted the cap off a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke Thursday morning, all he really expected was a cool drink. What he got was a continuation of the good luck he’s had this week.

The bottle of Diet Coke was one listing a promotion to customers in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas in which consumers of Coke products stood to win a kitchen makeover, a bathroom makeover or a voucher for a new stove. If a person collects caps that spell “kitchen,” he or she wins a $15,000 kitchen makeover. If the letters spell “bath,” the prize is a $10,000 bathroom makeover. If the letters spell “stove,” the prize is a $200 voucher for a range.

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“I was down to one letter,” said the sheet metal worker who is employed by Encompass Mechanical Contractors and is working on the new River Region Health System hospital on U.S. 61 North.

All he needed was a “K.”

“I was freaked out when I found the letter K under this one,” he said.

The 51-year-old Jones, who had been collecting the caps for three weeks, made a quick call to a toll-free number to confirm he likely is the first state winner in this promotion. To verify it, Jones was headed to Coca-Cola Bottling in Jackson today. Assuming that pans out, the caps will be mailed off for collection.

Though his permanent home is in Kosciusko, Jones has one in Vicksburg. That left him with the decision of which kitchen gets the goods.

He’s made his decision, but keeping that a secret.

“She’s never had a disposer,” he said.

The other good luck this week? That’s simple. Jones said he hit a $45,000 jackpot on a $5 slot machine at a local casino Monday.