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'Helpful Terrorist' Hoax Smokes Coke

By Richard B. Barger, ABC, APR

Originally Posted

You'd just know that, when Sept. 11 rolled around, pranksters and idiots would be reminded to spread rumors about Arab-appearing miscreants about to do vile things to us. In the current version, they're going to poison our supply of Coca-Cola, or, in some versions, Pepsi-Cola.

The 'Soda Pop Terrorist Warning' is what the Urban Legends page calls it. prefers "Rumors of War (Not the Real Thing)."

In a nutshell, the myth is that in a supermarket, somewhere, a person in a checkout line gave a dollar to a man who, because of his Middle Eastern appearance must have been a terrorist. As a way of thanking his benefactor, this suspicious foreigner offered an ominous warning: "Don't drink Coke this summer" or something similar.

It's a hoax, a re-working of an urban legend that has been around for decades: A suspicious stranger, grateful for some kindness, warns the helpful person of an impending attack of some sort. To no one's surprise, none of these purported attacks ever materializes.

Coca-Cola stewed about this for a while, then decided to publish a statement on their Web site: "These rumors are absolutely false and are causing needless worry. … 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."

Perhaps it's a Pepsi plot.

If so, they're falling victims, too, because later versions of the rumor targeted Pepsi-Cola.

Gives a whole new meaning to "The Pepsi Challenge," doesn't it?

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