About a month ago, Jade Gonzalez was minding her own business when, as she says, there was a glitch in the universe.
At the time of the incident in question, the 18-year-old was working at her mother’s Asadero El Fogon restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona, cutting a garnish of lemons for a customer. She turned around for a moment, and when she turned around, she realized that the lemon was still intact.
Soon after, Gonazlez, who is also an artist, decided to share the surveillance footage on TikTok, where he uses the username @kahootdaddy777.
“There was a technical problem,” González resists at the beginning of TikTok, in which he shows a surveillance video of what happened. “A bug in the system.”
Speaking with TODAY Food in an interview, Gonzalez said that the whole strange phenomenon happened on a pretty normal day. As she recalls, it was sunny, and she had sped up that day working the register and serving customers. She was moving quickly. Then a regular customer ordered a lemon garnish with her order.
“I go. I wash my hands. I come and get the lemon. I put half aside. I cut the other half, I’m going to grab the bag,” he recalled. “Then when I go to put it in the bag… bag…couldn’t separate it.”
Surveillance footage of the incident shows Gonzalez taking a lemon and cutting it in half. He then pushes one of the lemon halves aside, quarters the one closest to her, and then walks away a few steps (still in view of the security camera). Returning to the halved lemon, he picks it up with the plastic bag only to hesitate. Gonzalez’s confusion can be seen when he picks up the lemon to examine the still intact halved lemon.
“I remember completely cutting it out,” he told TODAY. “I can feel when the knife cuts and touches a table. So I’m 99.9% sure I cut everything.”
According to González, only three other workers were on site at the time: her mother, her aunt and the restaurant’s chef. None of the women, González said, changed the lemon. She insists that none of them (including herself) know how to use video editing tools, and if they had, there wouldn’t have been enough time to edit the footage. After giving her client the lemon, Gonzalez told her aunt what happened and followed her advice to review the surveillance footage. She said that the time between the time she cut the lemon and the inspection of the security footage took minutes.
So far, González’s video has accumulated more than 3.1 million views and thousands of comments from TikTok users who have analyzed and speculated on the causes of the event.
“LITERALLY SCREEN RECORDED, cropped to zoom in and played at 0.3 speed,” one user replied. “THE LEMON IS BACK IN ITS PLACE!!!”
“You moved the timelines girl,” another comment insisted, while others questioned how well Gonzalez cut the lemon in the first place.
“I can tell you didn’t cut it all the way through and the cut was very thin to the point where it wasn’t noticeable,” another user wrote.
“Are you 100% sure the lemon was still whole? Sometimes they stick together after you cut it,” another commented.
In a pinned comment, Gonzalez wrote to viewers, “Just to be clear, everyone has their own opinion and beliefs, please be respectful of others. This is what I got from my own experience.”
Rizwan Virck is a futurist and computer scientist from MIT currently conducting research at the Center for Science and Imagination at Arizona State University. He is also the author of the book “The Simulation Hypothesis”. For the book, Virk collected data from concepts related to computer science, artificial intelligence, and quantum physics to explore the idea of whether or not we could exist in a simulated reality like “The Matrix.”
Speaking with TODAY about Gonzalez’s experience, Virk noted that he’s skeptical that Gonzalez experienced a glitch due to the quality of the video and the camera’s proximity to the lemon. Still, he said there are some explanations for what might have happened as far as simulation theory goes.
“If it was a real glitch, then it’s very possible that she cut the lemon and split it into two parts from her perspective,” he explained, citing an aspect of quantum physics called the observer effect. Virk offered a multitude of mind-boggling theories and explanations, from being out of sync to the Mandela effect. One of the easiest to grasp was related to simulation theory, which almost anyone using Zoom or FaceTime could understand.
“Simulation theory posits that the world is like a video game and that what we think of as physical reality is actually a representation on something like a computer screen,” he explained, comparing the theory to the experience of doing a video interview. Zoom with TODAY. “You’re being rendered to my screen and I’m being rendered to your screen. And that’s how video games work. So when you play ‘Fornite’ or ‘World of Warcraft,’ you’re rendering it on your local device and then you’re syncing with the server every time something happens. So it’s possible that if I did something locally, you know, say I gave a thumbs up or cut a lemon, and somehow the information when it’s sent to the server gets messed up, which it can happen in the cloud. Then I think ‘I already did it,’ but until it syncs with the server, you won’t necessarily see it.”
According to Virk, a premise of quantum theory called the observer effect could also be at play. The Weizmann Institute of Science says that the observer effect is a premise of quantum theory that states that “by the very act of looking, the observer affects the observed reality.”
“When someone looks at a possibility, the probability wave collapses down to a single possibility,” Virk explained. “It is possible that it happened in the frame of observation of him. But then when he came back, other people didn’t see him. He goes back to the same problem of being out of sync with what’s really going on.”
Whatever the explanation, when it comes to González and the reality she lives in, she believes anything is possible. “I completely get it, I know it’s hard to believe,” she said, noting that if she came across a similar video on her own phone feed, she would have questions herself. “I get it. A lot of people do things just for the looks.”
Still, González insists that what he experienced that day was something otherworldly.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this. I’ve had moments in the past where I thought, ‘Didn’t I just do this, or did I just not like putting this in there,'” he recalled. “Now I’m thinking, ‘What if those were other technical issues?'”