Don't Have a Coke and Smile
Date Added: Aug. 23, 2002
Are terrorists eyeing America's favorite soft drink for their next terrible attack? And, would a would-be terrorist let the cat out of the bag as a way of saying thanks? The "information as thanks" chain letter is as old as war itself, as humankind tries to find patterns and sense in chaos.
I don't know how much truth there is to this but a friend of mine told me that her sister-in-law works at a hospital and a man came in to be treated for something and could hardly speak English. He was an Arab. He didn't have any $ so she gave him a couple of dollars to help him out. He kept asking her why she gave it to him and she said that is how we Americans are over here--we help people in need. He then told her that he wanted to help her out and told her NOT to drink Coke after September 1st........that's all he said but you get the picture.......I am not sure how much truth there is to it but I would rather be cautious....know what I mean? She alerted authorities and the man had already gone. She thinks he was trying to help her out because she helped him....like I said....I don't know how true it is but the girl who told me wouldn't just make it up....that I'm sure....Pass it around just in case.
Here's a much wordier, but no more true, version:
THIS IS NOT A JOKE OR PRANK!
Dear Friends and Loved Ones,
This is a true story that was told first hand to my Mother in Law and am passing it along to everyone I know. It may be a hoax, but you can't be too careful these days. Please read it and forward it to everyone you know. I pray that it isn't true, but I want to warn everyone anyways.
I am the first that I know of to email this, so this isn't something I just read and forwarded to you.
THIS IS A TRUE STORY!! NOT JUST MADE UP AND ADDED TO BY WORD OF MOUTH, I WOULD NEVER DO THAT!!!
A friend of our family's down at the bay... lets just call her Jill. Jill went to the grocery store last week and was standing in line at the check out behind a middle-aged Arabian man. Well, the Man was $1.25 short to pay for his groceries, and Jill, being the nice person that she is, slipped the clerk the money he was needing and continued through the check out with the man staring at her in amazement. Well, Jill headed out to her car to go home with her groceries and the Man that was ahead of her in the check out stopped her as she walked out. He demanded to know why she was so nice to him. He repeatedly said "Why you so nice to me, no one is nice to my kind." She just assumed that she meant "kind" to be referring to all the racial bias toward the Arabian people after the Sept 11 attacks last year. Jill said that she was not that kind of person and wished him a good day and headed toward her car. The Man stopped her again to tell her one more thing. He said "Since you were so nice to me, I am going to tell you a secret, that I want you to tell everyone you know and love. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT drink any coca cola products after Sept 9th of this year, it will be very bad." And the man quickly walked away.
Well, she told my Mother in law, which in turn told Eric and I this weekend. I am not trying to scare anyone with this but I want all my friends and family to hear about this just in case there is some grain of truth to it. It could just be a sick joke that this man told her, but why would he. Please read this and forward it. I pray that nothing comes of the reunion of the terrible tragedy of Sept 11th but we weren't expecting the attacks, and we certainly wouldn't expect something like what this man could be suggesting.
Jill and I am not trying to incinuate that Coca Cola would ever do something terrible of any sort, but we never thought that we could ever be attacked in the way we were last year, with our own planes no less.
I just want everyone to know and take whatever precautions they deam necessary. I guess just stock up on coke now, and wait to see that this is just maybe a prank (BUT NOT BY ME!!). You know what I mean. I love you all very much and that is the only reason I am emailing this to all that I know.
May God bless this country for its suffering and have no further worries about terrorists. I pray this isn't true.
Perhaps one reason we think the bunk above could be true is that we want it to be true. We want to believe that an honest gesture of generosity and friendship could touch an individual bent on terror and get him to, at the least, warn us of danger to come. It gives us back some element of control that many felt was lost on September 11, 2001.
Variants of the "grateful stranger" legend have been around for decades. Prior to September 11, 2002, tales like this were prevalent in Europe, usually involving information about a bomb from a stranger with an "Irish accent." Since 9/11, variants have included warnings to stay away from shopping malls on Halloween and entreaties to avoid travel to certain cities on certain days.
The Coke version first surfaced in May, 2002 and warned not to drink the fizzy thirst-quencher after June 1. After that date came and went without incident, new versions reset the date to July 1, then August 1, now September 1 and 9. The supposed place of the exchange has ranged from the hospital and the grocery store (above) to a restaurant. Some versions identify Pepsi as the potentially poisoned pop. Most state the informant was reported by the "honest American" and quickly apprehended (supposedly confirming the information). There have been no confirmed reports of such arrests happening anywhere.
The Coca-Cola Company officially denies the rumors and assures customers that every precaution has been taken:
"These rumors are absolutely false and are causing needless worry. The Coca-Cola Company has an uncompromising commitment to product safety, and our products are produced and distributed through secure facilities. We use a number of processes to assure the safety and quality of the water and ingredients used to make products of The Coca-Cola Company. To ensure the effectiveness of our safeguards, we do not discuss the details of these processes.
"We always take reports of this nature seriously. You should know that investigations to date, conducted by Federal and local officials, as well as The Coca-Cola Company, have concluded that these rumors have no merit."
Break this chain.
References: Snopes.com, The Coca-Cola Company