Shock: Viral Vomit-Baby Story Was Slightly Exaggerated ‘for Dramatic Effect’

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Photo: Ben Patterson/Facebook

If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, earlier this week it was inundated with pictures of a small child covered in vomit. (Facebook, if you’re listening, please feel free to suppress such pictures in the future. They’re gross.)

The photos were shared by California dad Ben Patterson, part of a long string of very funny text messages he’d sent his wife after turning around in the car to find their son, Declan, had barfed all over himself. As the texts go, Patterson says he pulled over to clean his son but was so overwhelmed by the stench, he started puking on the spot. (The spot being a random woman’s lawn.) The cops were called and Patterson told his wife he was forced to take a Breathalyzer test to prove he wasn’t drunk, before driving home with the windows open. (Wow. Parenting sounds fun.)

It’s a pretty funny story and thousands of people shared Patterson’s post on Facebook. Except, as it turns out, the police were never actually involved. Patterson has since updated his original Facebook post saying “the part about the police coming and the breathalyzer was just something I added for dramatic effect for my wife in the moment.”

When I realized this thing has gone viral, I went down to apologize to them [the local police department] and say I didn’t want this to reflect badly on them,” Patterson told me. “At first they thought I was there to complain, but once they realized what was going on we all had a good laugh about it.”

So while the story isn’t quite as incredible when you take out the attempted arrest, there’s still that whole baby looking sad covered in vomit thing to laugh at. (Or, as Patterson put it, baby going “Exorcist in the car.”) Ultimately, Patterson says he just wanted to make his wife laugh. And we just want to rigorously report out viral Facebook memes. Looks like everyone won.