An In-N-Out Burger Was Discovered On The Streets Of NYC And Now We Know Why
Every now and again, a groundbreaker of a story comes rolling in. Like last weekend, when a mysterious In-N-Out burger was found abandoned on a street in Queens, 1,500 miles from its home-state or any of its outlets.
Picture this – another average Saturday morning in New York City. You’re heading for a coffee at McDonald’s on Sutphin Boulevard.
You pass a bus stop and the glance down to see a… familiar shape?
A pristine In-N-Out Double-Double cheeseburger burger sits quietly in the middle of the road. And it’s perfect. Perfectly untouched, wrapped and lying face-up in Jamaica, Queens, at the wee hour of 6:30 a.m. Such was the strange sight, Lincoln Boehm, 31, recalls.
“It genuinely shook me to my core,” he said.
The popular fast food outlet In-N-Out is famously a West Coast chain.
In-N-Out has spread to 346 locations since they opened their first outlet in Baldwin Park, California in 1948. However, it’s common knowledge that you can’t find an outlet further east than Texas. So, how a Double-Double had somehow fallen out of the sky into Queens, New York was anyone’s guess.
A devout In-And-Out fan himself, it struck a deep personal chord with Boehm.
“This was a startling and somewhat horrifying discovery,” he wrote. “Was this evidence that we really are living in a simulation?”
But more than anything, he was baffled how fresh the burger still looked; “as if it had come off the grill five minutes ago”. That, despite the closest store being some 1,500 miles away.
He understood the gravity of this. Since his move to New York nine years ago, Boehm had attempted to bring burgers back from Los Angeles, with no success. “Every time I’ve done it it becomes inedible,” he mused. “The bun gets soggy and it becomes a mess. This one was just in such perfect condition… It just felt strange… ‘
They didn’t touch the mystery burger, but snapped some photos and looked around, wondering if it was some sort of marketing stunt.
Boehm later posted a photo of the burger to Instagram.
The sight of the lonely, picture-perfect burger soon caught the American imagination.
It was dubbed the internet’s ‘new favourite mystery’, with hundreds of people confused and demanding answers.
Naturally, Twitter broke out into a million conspiracies.
Some leapt to the conclusion he’d stumbled across some sort of masterpiece.
I mean it’s New York. People make art out of everything so it’s not much of a stretch for people to have thought that maybe, just maybe, this was some sort of avant-garde art installation.
Others suspected the cheeseburger was some sort of party favor of the rich and famous.
Again…it’s New York. There’s rich and famous people on literally every corner so it kinda makes sense that maybe, just maybe, In-N-Out would do a pop up for som big celebrity event.
And others had much more convincing theories.
Now this…if only.
Even the In-N-Out Vice President of Operations, Denny Warnick, had this to say to VICE:
“We were surprised to hear recently that one of our Double-Doubles was found on a street in New York. Because our burgers are only cooked fresh to order in six states, it must have taken considerable planning for that burger to make the trip from the grill all the way to the Empire State.”
But despite the frenzied speculation, the world was no closer to an answer. Boehm, least of all.
In his words, “I assumed this was just a mystery that would consume a part of my brain until the day I die, much like how the JFK assassination consumed my parents’ generation.”
But to give up, friends, is to underestimate the power of the internet. After two full days of media madness and social media buzz, Boehm has since provided an update.
We have satisfying news – the mystery of the burger has since been solved.
Yup, we can all of us breathe easy again. Let the Earth spin on.
Two days later, at 9:56 p.m. Boehm received a DM from a girl claiming to be the burger’s former owner:
He was sceptical at first – she hadn’t been the first to claim the burger as hers. However, upon further questioning, her story started to come together. She backed it all up with a digital papertrail of Instastories, receipts, screenshots from her JetBlue flight, and more.
The culprit introduced herself as Helen Vivas, a 16-year-old high schooler from Flushing, Queens.
Turns out she was catching a flight back home to JFK that morning and had made a pit-stop at an In-N-Out Burger in Encinitas to pick up some snacks.
She had stopped by the Encinitas outlet just before her flight.
She’d eaten one burger on the plane and held the other three poised on her lap in a paper bag. Once she’d landed and made it to in Jamaica, she had suddenly caught sight of her bus and broke into a run.
It was then that her beautiful, slightly greasy paper bag broke and unleashed the Double-Double into Queens. She managed to catch two burgers before they hit the ground rolling, but hadn’t been quick enough on the DD. And that was that – mystery solved.
But hang on… how’d the burger end up so freakishly perfect?
Turns out, it was all about prep. At the In-N-Out counter, she’d told the staff that she wanted to bring her burgers on the plane. Her Double-Doubles were ordered with no sauce and her cheeseburgers had been “packed fresh” with veggies separate. Ahaaa!
Ready for a wholesome turn?
Surprised by how his whole story went viral, Boehm had decided to milk some good out of the whole incident.
He’s since started up a Shopify store that sells t-shirts about the incident with all proceeds going to the New York City Foodbank to help feed the homeless.
The caption for it reads:
“…How it got there I honestly don’t know, but for whatever reason it has captured the imagination of America, so I’m trying to use this publicity for good by selling these commemorative t-shirts with ALL proceeds going to the New York City Food Bank that helps feed the hungry in this city I call home.”