The In-N-Out NYC Burger Mystery Has Been Solved (and the Culprit Is on the Honor Roll)

a perfect in n out burger cruelly resting on the ground

Over the weekend, a burger from heaven fell from the sky and stuck a landing that would give Simone Biles a run for her money, in all places: Jamaica, Queens—or so it seemed.

When Brooklyn resident Lincoln Boehm and his wife (as it’s been covered in most media outlets, but I should probably disclose here that said ‘wife’ is me. I’m the wife!! I’ve been written out of this entire story!!! Not for any misogynist, re-writing herstory reasons, but mostly because I didn’t really care about the whole thing and kept nagging Lincoln to put his phone down, forget the burger and live in the moment...that is, of course, until it went viral) discovered an untouched, picturesque In-N-Out burger lying in the middle of a sidewalk in Jamaica, Queens.

The problem? The closest In-N-Out…is in Texas. And thus, the internet went completely nuts. Was it the doing of a rich playboy and private jet? A genius marketing ploy? A glitch in the matrix? How could this pristine, beloved Double-Double wind up here? Friends and friends of friends and strangers hopped on the In-N-Out mystery train, following along on Instagram as Lincoln and I posted about the surprising number of big outlets covering the story—Vice, Time, People, NPR!

Since Lincoln and I both work in media, some cynics painted us as capitalistic villains who planted the burger for our own gain—whether as a guerilla marketing ploy or Pizza Rat scheme to eventually sell as an ABC pilot (we’re still up for that, btw).

Alas, I’m relieved to prove, once and for all, that it was none of the above. And while, sure, Robert Mueller testified in front of Congress today, we have bigger news: The mystery has been solved.

Last night, a person claiming to be responsible for the burger DMed Lincoln. After some careful vetting and some essential screenshots, Lincoln was sold: he found the culprit. And yeah, she’s on the honor roll.

In an exclusive for Vice (don’t ask), Lincoln explained that Helen Vivas, a 16-year-old high school student from Flushing visited San Diego and flew back on the JetBlue red-eye that landed at JFK on the day of the “incident” at 5:27 a.m. With her onboard she brought three In-N-Out burgers (packed “fresh” with no sauce, which means she could construct them later, so they wouldn’t get soggy) to eat back in NYC. Upon landing, Vivas took the AirTrain from JFK to Jamaica, Queens (see where we’re going with this?) to transfer to the M44 to get back home. But as she sprinted to catch the approaching bus, the bag split and one of the burgers fell on the ground, where, a bit later, Lincoln and I would find the burger that would put our relationship to the test like never before. (Put down your phone, Lincoln!!!)

Maybe this is a story about viral news overshadowing real, important things (remember, Robert Mueller testified in front of Congress today). Or maybe it’s a lesson that honor roll students really are a step above the rest of us—packing the burger “fresh” to eat later? Genius.

And because this wouldn’t be a viral news story without a T-shirt, you can purchase one here; all proceeds go to the Food Bank for New York City.

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