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Family Uses Cardboard Cut-Out to Replace Son

Dave Davila, age 24, took a job in Chicago and had to leave his close-knit family in East Moline, Illinois. But family gatherings just weren't the same without Dave. So his mother took a digital photo of him and had it blown up to his actual height—5 foot 8 inches—and mounted on heavy cardboard.

So there's Dave, standing casually, hands in pockets, a blue button-down shirt hanging untucked over his khaki shorts. They all call him Flat Dave.

At first, Flat Dave just showed up and stood quietly by at family gatherings. Then word spread throughout the community, and he became something of a celebrity in East Moline. "Complete strangers want to pose with him," said his brother Dan. He also said, "I think Flat Dave's actually better looking."

Sometimes things get somewhat awkward for the real Dave—the one the family now calls Thick Dave. "I'm in Chicago talking to my mom on the phone, and she says, 'Hold on, I've got to load you into the van.' It's a little weird."

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