Rhondda police have finally found Dai the Pop, 51, alive and well down a narrow unused lane somewhere between Ystrad Mynach and Cwmbran.
Dai was reported missing in December 1984 by his mother Jean the Pop, after he failed to return home after work one Wednesday afternoon. Dai was 20 at the time he went missing, unmarried with no children. He was, and by all accounts still is a delivery man for Corona, the pop home delivery service that stopped making Welsh kids extremely happy after discontinuing the service in 1987. To give that some perspective, Rick Astley was still charting, and the Top 40 was something we all cared about.
Police questioned Dai on why he didn’t walk the 5 miles to the farm he was on his way to when he broke down, or even Treorchy which is just over the hill. Dai replied:
“Company policy states never leave your truck unattended, switch on your hazards and wait for rescue. There are a few Corona trucks in this area and I was sure I would be found within hours”.
His Mam had also packed him a substantial dinner that morning of corned beef and HP sauce sandwiches from a thick farmhouse crusty loaf. He managed to make that wedge last four years, then switched to blackberries growing on both sides of the shortcut lane he had taken. After some considerable argument with himself fueled by being a loyal company man, he began drinking the lorries load of American Cream Soda, Rasberryade and Dandelion and Burdock pop. Surprisingly his diet for the last 31 years has not caused any serious health issues, though he no longer has any teeth and he does have a somewhat purple tinge to his complexion. The famous yellow Corona lorry is in remarkable condition and will be touring the Heads of the Valleys this Christmas with Dai at the wheel, a pop up shop is planned at St David’s Centre in Cardiff.
Dai kept up with the news listening to 257 Swansea Sound on the lorry’s AM radio, but the battery ran out in 1989. He was particularly upset to find out Tomorrows World is no longer on TV, but is still celebrating that Maggie Thatcher is out of office.
This reporter managed to spend a few minutes with Dai the Pop and when asked how he was responded with the memorable Corona slogan – “Every bubble’s passed its FIZZical and I’m no exception. I’m doing quite well and am looking forward to sampling any new flavours Corona have come up with over the past 31 years”. Its evident no one has had the heart to let Dai the Pop know Corona shut up shop when Frankie was still in Hollywood, Johnny still hated jazz and Deacon Blue’s kid was really gone.
In parting, Dai was looking forward to going home to his Mam’s in Blaenavon. He has spoken to her on the phone and she has a HP Sauce and corned beef sandwich waiting for him.