It’s the kind of thing that can happen on a college campus: a Coke machine that dispenses “happiness” in the form of water guns, flowers and goldfish.
A “special” Coke machine was set up on the campus of East Tennessee State University on Monday that provided any student who approached, put in a dollar and hit a button with various prizes as well as a drink. The prizes may have been random, but the reactions were all pretty much the same.
“I think it’s pretty awesome,” said Audrey Smith, a freshman majoring in elementary education who received a popcorn maker along with her drink.
“I got an electric hot air popper to make popcorn,” she said. “Awesome for a dorm room.”
Melanie Carpenter, a senior majoring in environmental health, also thought the event was “awesome.”
In addition to her drink, she got a white flower from the machine.
“I love it,” she said as she walked away grinning with her flower.
This Coke machine is part of a program visiting 25 schools around the Southeast.
It is intended to spread happiness for that day to any student who purchases a drink. All money raised from the machine went to the Boys and Girls Club.
Students or anyone else nearby put a dollar in the machine. Someone behind the machine dispenses a drink as well as a prize of some sort.
The events are not publicized. Word of the special Coke machines are spread through social media the day of the appearance.
Wednesday it was in The Cave at the D.P. Culp University Center from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Alicyn York, a sophomore nutrition major, said some of her friends were promoting the event, so she wanted to see what it was all about.
“Well, I knew we had this last year, and I was actually not able to participate in it because I was at work,” she said. “So, of course, I wanted to come down, grab a Diet Coke and try it out. And it was amazing.”
She got a bouquet of red flowers.
“I loved it,” she said. “It was like a pre-Valentine’s Day gift.”
Sky Campbell, a sophomore majoring in education, actually got a bowl with four small goldfish from the machine.
“I thought it was awesome,” Campbell said. “It totally made me really happy.”
Campbell, with the assistance of her friends, had already named the fish (Fred, Hank, Coy and He-Man) that will live in her room in a bigger bowl.