Shell Shocked: Sanibel hometown hero returns | News, Sports, Jobs – SANIBEL-CAPTIVA

Shell Shocked: Sanibel hometown hero returns |  News, Sports, Jobs – SANIBEL-CAPTIVA


The local hero recently returned to the scene of his greatest success. Just a few years ago, one of our local Sanibel geckos was chosen in a national talent contest to be the Geico Gecko.

At the time, he was an obscure, unknown gecko lounging in the backyard of a Sanibel home. But when word got out that world-famous insurance company Geico was auditioning for a new international symbol for its auto insurance policies, word spread among geckos across the country.

Little Larry Gecko had no ambition then. He was perfectly content growing up on Sanibel and doing what all the other geckos did: eating bugs, frolicking on pool cage screens, and occasionally appearing in your living room. Little Larry’s life was peaceful and he was ready to take up his father’s job: eating, sleeping and staying away from frogs.

But then word got out that Geico was auditioning for a gecko who would star in most of its TV commercials. The idea behind this decision was for geckos to demonstrate what insurance policies reflect most: reliability, originality and confidence building. Geico entrusted the task of auditioning the geckos to its advertising agency.

Florida is well known for its geckos. They are small, friendly and indeed very bright. But not a single gecko that actually talks has been found. Until Larry.

Hundreds of geckos were auditioned across Florida, but none were able to utter a single response. Then one day, people from the advertising agency stopped in Sanibel and observed hundreds of geckos. None had the talent, on-air style, and personality they thought they needed to persuade the people at Geico that their idea of ​​producing a talking gecko was feasible.

One evening, the ad agency people stopped by Doc Ford’s and sat at the bar trying to figure out next steps. They had a few drinks and at first thought they were seeing things in their drunken state. Sitting near them at the bar were a sea turtle, an egret and a gecko. Now, nothing people see in Doc Ford is surprising. But the people at the New York advertising agency didn’t know that.

They heard voices to their right and when they turned to look, they saw the sea turtle, the egret and the gecko conversing. Apparently no one else at Doc Ford that day paid attention to this unlikely trio. Strange things have been happening at Doc Ford’s house. But the people at the ad agency were blown away. The three creatures were discussing Alex Rodriguez and when he would hit his 600th home run.

The people in the advertisement paid no attention to the sea turtle and the egret, but looked at the gecko with bulging eyes. They turned to little Larry and asked if he had ever appeared in a commercial. Larry said he hadn’t and in fact never thought about a career in show business. He lied, of course. The sea turtle and the egret rolled their eyes.

The people at the ad agency asked Larry if he could do a British accent and Larry did. Larry later told advertisers that he often sat on the windowsill of the Sanibel home where he lived and watched episodes of the PBS Masterpiece Theater. He said his favorite actress was Judi Dench.

His British accent was so perfect that Larry was offered the job on the spot. He was told that the search for the new Geico gecko was over and that he would become a major television star and be seen by millions of people.

The sea turtle and the egret asked if they also had a role to play. The people at the advertising agency didn’t pay any attention to it. They immediately placed a contract in front of Larry and asked him to sign it. Larry recognized the opportunity before him and decided that now was the time to make his dreams come true. He signed the contract with his tail. From the day he was born, he believed he was destined to become a world-famous gecko. The rest is history. Larry has been the reigning Geico gecko for a few years now and has become almost as well known as Angelina Jolie.

Larry recently visited Sanibel and stopped at his old hangout – Doc Ford’s. He was welcomed as a local hero and even treated to free-roaming insects. The Sanibel City Council gave him the key to the city and announced that a new holiday would be held every year on Sanibel: Geico Larry Day.

In fact, Larry reunited with his friends the sea turtle and the egret for whom he managed to get major roles in the upcoming Pixar animated films. Larry never forgot his roots. It now offers Geico car insurance for all of Sanibel.

Art Stevens is a longtime columnist for the Sanibel-Captiva Islander. His ironic humor is always delivered with a smile.