Alicia Jessop had crossed state lines for this moment.
The Los Angeles law professor just finished a work trip to Vermont when she decided to rent a car and drive to the Maine coast to fulfill her childhood goal of tasting a traditional lobster roll. She shelled out $21.50 for it and was preparing to take a quintessential New England photo amid a backdrop of clear blue skies and a gleaming white lighthouse.
And then an unwelcome intruder intervened.
“I didn’t even see the seagull,” she said in a phone interview with the Globe on Saturday afternoon, one day after the ordeal. “I didn’t know there was one coming. He ate it and coughed it out and his seagull friends came out and ate it. It was kind of wild.”
But she still hadn’t tried the summer staple she came all this way to taste. So she went back to where she bought it, Fox’s Lobster House in York, evidence of her stolen lunch in hand, and explained what happened to the same woman who sold it to her.
“She was very unimpressed,” Jessop said of the cashier. “I was waiting for her to be like, ‘Well, I’ll just replace it for you,’ and she was like, ‘$21.50.’ So I spent $43 on lobster rolls.”
But the fallout hasn’t been all bad, Jessop said.
A company in Maine that learned of the seagull theft offered to ship her six lobster rolls overnight, and she plans to start a website called seagullstolemylobsterroll.com.
“There’s a lesson that sometimes the best things that happen to you can’t be planned or manufactured, and there’s good surprises in this world still,” she said.
As for the lobster roll, it was “pretty good,” she said, but not better than the attention and feedback she has received in response. By early Saturday evening, her initial tweet had been retweeted more than 16,000 times and had more than 117,000 likes.
“It was an expensive day and a great memory,” she said. “My next trip is going to be a little bit of a let down.”