Culture

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?

Credit: @nypost / Twitter

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. 

Credit: TheTakeout.com

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.

Credit: lincolnboehm / Instagram

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. 

Credit: @leighmunsil / Twitter

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. 

Credit: @_TheOnlyJuan / Twitter

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.

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Credit: Giphy

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:

Credit: Vice

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. 

Credit: Vice


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.

Credit: Ja-m-aica-queens

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.” 

READ: We Asked, And These Are The 14 Weirdest Junk Food Meals You Eat

The Jewish Community Has Been Attacked In Recent Weeks So The Guardian Angels Are Stepping Up To Help

Things That Matter

The Jewish Community Has Been Attacked In Recent Weeks So The Guardian Angels Are Stepping Up To Help

The Red Berets / Facebook

In the past week, hate crimes have occurred back-to-back. And, it’s not just this week. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a somewhat shocking report in November that stated an increase in hate crimes in 2018. The FBI noted in 2018 that hate crimes reached a 16-year high. We say that the news was somewhat shocking because violence in the United States feels never-ending. If we’re not dealing with mass shootings, we’re dealing with crimes against people because of their background — sometimes both at the same time. Now — as if these actions were taken from a movie — people are taking it upon themselves to fight crime if authorities cannot. 

The Guardian Angels have vowed to patrol the streets of New York City after a slew of anti-Semitic crimes in the state.

Credit: The Red Berets / Facebook

“These attacks are taking place, and the cops have not been proactive at all,” Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels, told NBC News. “It comes from City Hall and the mayor. He’s been just apathetic.” 

“We’re a visual deterrence in our red berets and our red satin jackets,” Sliwa added. “Nobody’s going to commit an attack when we’re around.” So what exactly will the Guardian Angels do if someone does attempt to commit a crime and they happen to be there, Sliwa responded by saying, “we’ll physically restrain the persons responsible, make a citizen’s arrest and hold them until the police arrive.”

The Guardian Angels is a nonprofit that formed in 1979 and has “safety patrols chapters throughout the United States and worldwide.”

Credit: The Red Berets / Facebook

According to its website, Sliwa founded the group and currently has 12 volunteers in New York City. “The ‘Magnificent 13’ rode the subways to conduct safety patrol. For 37 years, thousands of people have joined the Guardian Angels and created chapters in over 130 cities in 13 countries to protect their communities and improve substantially the quality of life.”

However, not everyone is pleased that the Guardian Angels are taking on a vigilantly stand, especially because the group’s founding member has made disparaging remarks against various groups.

Credit: @rafaelshimunov / Twitter

Political activist Rafael Shimunov tweeted a thread of clips that showed Sliwa making fun of the Jewish community and disparaging the Black community as well. Someone also linked out to a 1992 New York Times story in which Sliwa admitted to faking crimes for publicity. 

Yet, others on social media are praising the Guadian Angels for stepping up and fighting hate crime in New York City streets.

Credit: @MUCKWlTCH / Twitter

One man tweeted, “So glad to see the Guardian Angels still doing amazing work on the streets after so many years. I remember hearing their amazing stories growing up. Thank you @CurtisSliwa and the @GA_DareToCare team!”

Another tweeted, “Love the Guardian Angels but it’s kind of crazy that this is where we’re at. Citizens on patrol duty in NYC. Onus is on all of us to band together and speak up in the face of discrimination and prejudice. Now more than ever. Silence is complicity. #zerotolerance #lovetrumpshate.”

Time will tell if the Guardian Angels will do anything to stop these hate crimes going on in New York and around the country because they’re not stopping anytime soon. 

On Dec. 28, a woman, who was with her young son, reported that she was hit on the head after a woman yelled anti-Semitic slurs at her. Also, last week, police said at least “three incidents of possible hate-based attacks against Jews in less than 72 hours.”

On Saturday night, a man stabbed five Hasidic Jews who were at home celebrating Hanukkah in Monsey in upstate New York. The assailant was arrested in Harlem and charged over the weekend. 

“People inside fought to stop him,” Rabbi Yisroel Kahan, told the New York Times. “It was very heroic of them. They didn’t just let this happen — they tried to defend themselves.”

As we noted, the FBI reports a surge of hate crimes, but we should also mention that the group being targeted more than any other group is the Latino community. 

Credit: @berniesanders / Twitter

“The FBI said 485 hate crimes against Latinos were reported in 2018, up from 430 in 2017,” the New York Times reports. “It said 270 crimes were reported against Muslims and Arab-Americans, the fewest since 2014,” They added, “Hate crimes against Latinos were at their highest level since 2010, when the unemployment rate and border crossings from Mexico were both peaking. Some advocates placed the blame for the recent rise on President Trump.” 

READ: Anti-Semitism Rocked A NYC Subway When A Woman Physically Assaulted A Jewish Woman

Four Guards At Rikers Island Have Been Suspended Because They Are Believed To Have Let An Teenager Commit Suicide

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Four Guards At Rikers Island Have Been Suspended Because They Are Believed To Have Let An Teenager Commit Suicide

mitchjackson / Instagram

Four New York City Rikers Island correction officers, including a captain, have been suspended for knowingly failing to intervene in a teen detainee’s suicide attempt for seven minutes. The night before Thanksgiving, Nicholas Feliciano, 18, was jumped by seven other inmates and left with a gash on his face. Instead of taking him to the infirmary, guards placed him in a holding cell where he hung himself from a pipe with his shirt. Whistleblowers from the prison have told The New York Times that one guard actually opened Feliciano’s cell door to find him hanging from the pipe, closed the door, and walked away. A witness told The New York Times that, after Feliciano stepped off the toilet partition, he changed his mind and tried to find the partition to free himself from the makeshift noose. Feliciano hung for seven minutes without any intervention, and it was more than a half-hour before paramedics were able to whisk him away from the prison complex. 

Feliciano was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was put into an induced coma on Tuesday. He has yet to show signs of brain activity.

At first, the Department of Corrections wouldn’t allow Feliciano’s family to visit him in the hospital.

CREDIT: LEGAL AID SOCIETY

The Legal Aid Society, which has taken up Feliciano’s case, penned a letter to the DOC to request charges against the teen be dropped. “This is unacceptable. He poses no security risk and needs his family at his bedside at this critical time,” the letter reads. According to Legal Aid Society, the family had to wait to be cleared by DOC to visit him, were not allowed to bring anything inside his hospital room, or even photograph him. 

In response, the New York State Department of Correction and Community Supervision canceled Feliciano’s parole warrant.

CREDIT: @LEGALAIDNYC / TWITTER

That meant that Feliciano was no longer in the custody of the state, and his family was free to visit him at their leisure. “We are relieved that the New York State Department of Correction and Community Supervision canceled the parole warrant pending against Nicholas Feliciano, our client who is still battling for his life at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens,” reads a statement from The Legal Aid Society. The organization maintains that the act is too little too late for the much more serious “concerns over the New York City Department of Correction’s failure to properly screen and address Mr. Feliciano’s mental health issues, which were known to the City at the time of his remand,” the statement continues. 

Feliciano was charged with robbery, but because of his age, the court gave him a short sentence and kept his criminal record sealed. Within weeks of his release, Feliciano had violated his parole by testing positive for drugs, skipping mandated programs, attempting to purchase a gun, and traveling past state lines to visit a girlfriend. When Feliciano arrived at his parole meeting, he was taken into custody and scheduled to be arraigned more than a month later. The Legal Aid Society of New York is using Feliciano as a tragic example for “the need for Albany to enact comprehensive parole reform legislation immediately next session to address cases like Nicholas’, where the alleged violation of parole does not rise to the level of a new criminal charge.”

Feliciano has a history of mental illness, including suicide attempts, says the Legal Aid Society. 

CREDIT: @RENTALSINMIAMI / TWITTER

According to The New York Times’s report, Feliciano was taken out of the general population holding area after getting into a fight in order to get him medical attention. He waited for six hours in a holding cell without medical attention. An hour before he attempted suicide, he was taken out of a two-person cell and placed in a cell by himself. An hour and a half later, he was hanging off a pipe while correction officers stood by. An off-duty captain saw closed-circuit surveillance footage of Feliciano hanging and rushed to take him down. According to The New York Times, an official said Feliciano didn’t have a pulse for two minutes. 

In response, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, “The people in our jails are human beings. Their well-being is our responsibility. These allegations are deeply troubling. The 3 officers and their supervisor have been suspended and an investigation is underway. We’re taking immediate action.” The New York City Council voted October 17 to close Rikers prison complex and the chapter on its disturbing human rights violations.

READ: NYC Determines Layleen Polanco’s Death Might Have Had To Do With Her State In Solitary Confinement