Have you seen the Coca-Cola Man? Legend has it that a man in a reflective Coca-Cola jumpsuit walks around campus at night and purchases just one bottle of Coke from a vending machine.
Of course, he is not actually a myth or legend. He is allegedly a real student at MC, but his particular behaviors and the fact that little is widely known about him have made some students view him in the same light as Bigfoot.
Let’s start with what students have observed. Senior Emily Christian said, “He’s a vet. He buys a Coke every night. He can’t stop walking.” When prompted for more information, all she said was, “That’s all I know.”
This information came from her own experience when she saw him on campus herself. Christian said she asked if she could have a picture with him, but he just continued to walk. She took a photo with him while walking alongside him.
This seems to be the most likely source of one of the rumors about the Coca-Cola Man: he can’t be photographed. This is very similar to how Bigfoot is described, explaining why every photo is blurry. In the Coca-Cola Man’s case, the photos come out blurry because he is always moving, and he only emerges in the night.
Students on campus have spread word of the Coca-Cola man like a folk tale, even posting a flier on the front doors of Thaw Hall, reading “Please Help Us Find The Coca-Cola Man”. The information included serves to sensationalize him even more, claiming he is only sighted every “6,000 years”.
Even students who haven’t interacted with him have heard the “legend.” Katie Leming, senior, said she saw the flier and was intrigued. From there, she said she “saw stuff on YikYak about him.”
YikYak is an anonymous posting app, so none of the posts can be traced back to the original author. Students on the app contribute to the mythic reputation of the Coca-Cola Man, or they just ask questions. One person posted “Does the Coca-Cola Man go to MC?” Other people simply post sightings of him, sharing pictures and where they have seen him.
Leming used YikYak to find more information about him. While the information cannot necessarily be confirmed, it is interesting to think of what information is known or made up about him. For instance, she said, “He has a background in firefighting and the military, and I think he is a Maryville College student.”
One large point of interest is the speculation surrounding why he dresses in lights and a jumpsuit. Leming said she thinks he is trying to get an honorary marketing minor, while Christian said she heard he wants to get sponsored by Coca-Cola.
The myth of the Coca-Cola Man has been a hot topic for the last month at MC. Pictures of him get shared on different platforms every day. It’s safe to say that while he is likely just a regular student like us, but he has made a lasting impression and stands as a living legend on campus.