Each year, Gerber holds an online photo contest to determine which adorable kid will be its Spokesbaby. And this year, the baby food company chose Lucas Warren, a one-and-a-half-year-old from Dalton, Georgia with an adorable smile and an outgoing personality.
His parents, Cortney and Jason, entered him into Gerber’s contest on a whim, after Lucas’s godmother gave them a flyer and convinced them he was too cute to pass up. They submitted his photo on Instagram, and a few months later found out he would represent Gerber for 2018. Lucas was chosen from more than 140,000 entries for the title of Gerber Spokesbaby, and his family will receive $50,000 for the grand prize.
“Lucas’ winning smile and joyful expression won our hearts this year,” Bill Partyka, president and CEO of Gerber, said in an announcement. “Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby.”
Lucas is making history with his new gig. Lucas has Down syndrome, which makes him the first ever Gerber baby with special needs. But his parents want to make it clear that he’s not defined by his disability. “People with disabilities are more than their diagnosis,” Cortney tells GoodHousekeeping.com. “They’re people first, and their diagnosis is just something they have.”
When he’s not melting the hearts of everyone he meets, Lucas loves playing peek-a-boo, watching Disney shows, and listening to music, particularly a capella. He just recently learned to clap, and started signing the word “more” in American Sign Language. And when he went on a whirlwind tour of New York City on Wednesday to announce his new job, Lucas was a cool customer; his parents said he even slept through the flight from Georgia without a problem. “He’s very bubbly. He loves people,” Cortney says. “I’ve never seen anybody come in contact with Lucas and not smile.”
Jason and Cortney hope Lucas can also help out kids like him with his role as spokesbaby. “We want him to be a role model to others,” Jason says. “We want everybody to think, ‘Hey, Lucas has Down syndrome, what can I do [to help the cause]?’ We hope it snowballs from there.”
For the next year, Lucas will make appearances on Gerber’s social media channels, so there will be far more cute photos to come. And Jason and Cortney hope that it’ll make a great story for Lucas when he gets older. “When he grows up and we can teach him and show him all he did over the next year, I hope that it gives him confidence. He can do anything he wants,” Jason says. “We’ll be here with him every step of the way to do it,” Cortney adds.
Watch the video about Lucas: