LARGO — The prospect was intriguing.
A nighttime Easter egg hunt for adults featuring hundreds of eggs filled with cash, Lotto tickets and gift certificates hidden at the Largo Rehabilitation Center, beckoned a calendar item in Thursday's St. Petersburg Times.
The promo also aired on local radio stations. And Scott Elsass, executive director of the rehab center, said he was told "there were billboards all over Tampa.''
But it turns out the event was as phony as a tofu omelette.
On Friday, Elsass was hard boiled, to say the least.
Egged on by the fake promotional campaign, 130 people called the rehab center Thursday wanting to know how they could get in on the action.
At 8:30 p.m., the time of the hunt, at least 20 people showed up flashlights in hand ready to scramble for prizes.
"They were knocking on the door demanding an Easter egg hunt,'' Elsass said. "We had a woman who came in hysterical saying she had two bus loads of people heading this way from Lakeland.''
The would-be participants apparently ignored a sign on the door saying there was no egg hunt.
Elsass declined to say who was responsible, only that it is a woman who is a "disgruntled short-time employee who walked off the job early last week.''
He said he thinks the woman's friends made the calls and showed up Thursday demanding an Easter egg hunt.
He said he didn't call police and doesn't plan to pursue the matter. But Friday, a new promo popped up on the WFUS-FM 103.5 Web site.
"This one says it's tonight,'' Elsass said. "Obviously, now she's moving it to a new level. Let the games begin.''
Eileen Schulte can be reached at (727) 445-4153 or firstname.lastname@example.org