In 1995, John Leonard was in his early 20s attending college when he saw a new ad for Pepsi. It suggested that you could redeem Pepsi points for various items, including a Harrier Fighter jet for seven million — there was no fine print. Netflix’s ‘Pepsi, Where’s My Jet?’ is a four-part docuseries that focuses on how John found a way to get these points and its long-drawn aftermath. His mother, Linda Leonard, was also featured and talked about what happened during that time. So, if you’re curious to find out more about her, we’ve got you covered.
Who is Linda Leonard?
At the time of the incident, John was attending a community college outside Seattle, Washington, pursuing a business degree there. He liked being out in the mountains and enjoyed his independance. Linda Leonard, his mother, even described him as a go-getter who always had a job. On the show, she mentioned John being employed as a paper boy, glass cutter, climbing guide, magazine seller, and window washer, among others.
After John came across the ad in February 1996, he realized he had to buy a lot of Pepsi to reach those seven million points. So Linda still remembers they drank a lot of the beverage back then, bringing it into their home by the truckload. However, within a week, they realized they couldn’t drink it anymore, and her son eventually took his seemingly eccentric yet possibly lucrative idea to his friend, Todd Hoffman, a successful entrepreneur.
On the show, Linda said Todd did a great job also raising her son; he and John had developed a great friendship over the years. Ultimately, her son realized there was a way to buy the points outright and convinced Todd as well as a few other investors to front him the money. But it wasn’t until May 1996 that he heard back from Pepsi, only for them to send back the cheque, tell him it was a joke, and give him coupons for his effort.
Where is Linda Leonard Today?
John did not want to take no for an answer because he felt Pepsi’s challenge was properly met. As per the show, the company engaged in settlement talks with John and offered him up to a million. While he didn’t take the deal in the end, Linda felt he should have. In the time after that, the press showed up at the Leonard household repeatedly, and the matriarch also remembered hearing her son giving an interview on the radio. Ultimately, though, it ended with a judge ruling in favor of Pepsi, saying a reasonable person wouldn’t have taken the ad seriously.
As for Linda, she currently lives in Seattle, Washington, but is originally from Okanogan, Washington. She studied at the local high school in Okanogan and later attended the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota. On the show, it was mentioned that Linda and her husband used to have a small business when John was younger. Later, she also worked for the Edmonds School District in Washington. From what we can tell, Linda is now a loving grandmother who makes regular trips to Alaska to spend time with John and his family.
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