MISHAWAKA, IND. – Have you ever wondered why the Acorn is always running out of food? Why sometimes the toaster stops working? Or why the Acorn has a gate at night? Would you believe me if I said it was haunted? For years, Acorn has been serving food to Bethel students. Acorn has hired several student workers over the years. Some much more hardworking than others, including one who worked himself to death.
On Nov. 19, 1993, Derek Little was working the night shift at Acorn. It was a cold snowy Friday night, but Acorn was hot as always with bread loaves baking in the oven. The toaster was going and the pot on the stove was full of meatballs.Derek was a super employee. He made sure that everything at Acorn was clean, stocked, and ready to go. The Acorn never went amiss because of Derek’s hard work and dedication. Ever since he started at the Acorn, he won employee of the week -- every week. No one worked harder than he did; his boss was so proud of him. She never wanted to schedule anyone else because of the amazing work he did. Little did she know his hard work would be his undoing. He worked every day of the week from 4 - 11 p.m. Slowly he began to hate his job, his co-workers and his boss. They all used him to do the work they didn’t want to do themselves. On the night he died, Derek was working alone because his coworker never showed up for his shift. Derek had just swiped students’ cards and made 15 sandwiches all by himself. He was sweating and flustered. All he wanted to do was take a break but so many things needed to be done. He heard a loud “Beep, beep, beep!” That sound rang in his ears. The timer for the meatballs had just gone off. He slowly took the meatballs off the stove and took them in the back to put them in a serving container. Derek was unsure if the meatballs were cooked all the way through, so he decided to taste one. No one really knows for sure what the cause of Derek’s death was. Some say he choked on the meatball that got lodged in his throat, but others say he collapsed from heat exhaustion. Either way. poor Derek died behind the counter. Since the incident, management has added several rules to make sure something like that never happens again. There are restrictions on how many hours Acorn employees can work, and they are no longer allowed to eat behind the counter. After hearing the story of Derek Little, now they know why. Some say the spirit of Derek Little haunts the Acorn to this day. Acorn employees can feel his presence, and it makes them scared to show up for their shifts. They’re fearful to the point where even the idea of finding a substitute for their shift scares them. No one ever wants to show up for a shift that is not theirs, because they don’t know when he’s going to be there to mess something up. Sometimes Derek makes the food go bad or hides the food, so it runs out. His one goal is to sabotage the Acorn and to make sure no one can be a super employee like he once was. Note: the above story is fictitious. Any resemblance to real-life characters or events is coincidental.