NEW YORK CITY — This is a story of how an In-N-Out burger made its way from California all the way to New York, where it lay fully intact and unattended on the streets of Jamaica, Queens.
It was a major mystery that was first uncovered by 31-year-old New Yorker Lincoln Boehm, who stumbled upon the delicious-looking Double-Double on the sidewalk on July 20. He promptly took a pic of the burger, which was still wrapped in In-N-Out’s signature wrapping, and posted it on Instagram.
“Finding an untouched double double on the ground in Jamaica, Queens is the most confusing thing I’ve ever experienced. Ever,” he wrote.
The mystery of the In-N-Out burger quickly went viral, with many wondering whether it was a publicity stunt by the California-based fast food chain. Before long several strangers came forward to lay claim to the burger, but in an essay he wrote for Vice, Boehm said that their claims quickly fell apart after “soft interrogation”.
After four days, an Instagram DM came through at 9:56 p.m. from a 16-year-old girl from Flushing, Queens who claimed the Double-Double belonged to her. In her message, she wrote that she had arrived in New York City from San Diego on a JetBlue flight that arrived at 5 a.m.
“Helen was sincere, and from the jump I knew this person may hold the answers I’ve spent the last four days searching for,” wrote Boehm.
Helen’s story went like this:
On the way to the San Diego airport, she stopped at In-N-Out in Encinitas, CA with her friend and her friend’s mom to pick up some snacks prior to their flight back home to New York. After telling the cashier that she was about to board a plane, she ordered two single cheeseburgers and two Double-Doubles with no sauce, thinking they would be better preserved during the long flight without it.
She ate one of the Double-Doubles on the flight, and also told Boehm that she watched three episodes of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ and listened to Ariana Grande’s ‘Sweetener’ (“All details are important,” replied Boehm).
As for the other three burgers? “She held the bag containing them in her lap for THE ENTIRE FLIGHT!” he wrote.
Helen landed at JFK around 5 a.m. and boarded the JFK-Jamaica AirTrain. She got off in Jamaica to take the Q44 bus back home to Flushing, Queens only to find the bus getting ready to leave about a block away.
The teenager ran down the street to wave the bus down, all the while clutching onto her In-N-Out takeout bag that still contained three burgers. She managed to catch the bus but at what cost?
Her last Double-Double fell to the ground after the bag burst open during her sprint. The two cheeseburgers, however, managed to make it onboard.
To backup her claims, Helen sent Boehm screen grabs of Instagram stories she posted at the In-N-Out and at the airport, as well as pics of her In-N-Out receipt and text messages she sent to friends of her ordeal.
“Over the past four days, I’ve received a lot of messages from people claiming to be the culprit, but after soft interrogation their claims completely fell apart,” wrote Boehm. “But this one was different. This explanation stayed as intact and solid as the very burger I discovered on the streets of Queens.”
So there you have it, the mystery has been solved. And hopefully, it’s also the start of a new budding friendship between Boehm and Helen. According to Boehm, he and his wife have invited Helen and her family to their home for a barbecue.
Hopefully, In-N-Out will be on the menu.