Origins: While the origins of April Fools' Day may be lost in the mists of time, the practice of subjecting the unsuspecting to tomfoolery on the first of April is widespread. Individuals, of course, feel free to let loose their inner practical joker on that day, but so do corporations and news outlets, as we detail in our article about memorable April Fools' Day pranks.
Radio stations in particular are known for their penchant for playing mean spirited April Fools' jokes on the public. At times this bent has served to land them in a spot of trouble, as appears to have been the case with a gag perpetrated by a radio station regarding its contest to win a Hummer.
In late March 2005, listeners of KBDS in Bakersfield, CA, were told that whoever came up with the correct mileage accumulated that week by the station's two
Castillo, who had hired a sitter to stay with her two children so that she could be at the station at
Castillo's case came hard on the heels of another instance of a radio station's being embroiled in a lawsuit over a contest wherein listeners had been led to believe the prize being offered was substantially different from the one awarded. On
Although the preceding suits might seem to lack legal sufficiency, a waitress at a Hooters restaurant in Panama City, Florida, was able to wring the value of the prize she had thought she'd won out of the company that had pulled what it described as an April Fools' joke. In 2001, 26-year-old Jodee Berry had bested the other servers at her restaurant in a competition to see who could sell the most beer in a month to that eatery's customers, with the winner to receive a new Toyota. When the day came for her to be presented with her prize, Berry was led blindfolded to the restaurant's parking lot to receive her award, but when the blindfold came off she was devastated to learn that the promised jackpot was not a Toyota automobile but rather a toy Yoda, a Star Wars doll. She quit her job and sued Gulf Coast Wings, Inc., the corporate owner of the restaurant, alleging breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation. In 2002 the suit was settled for an undisclosed amount of money, which one of the attorneys involved in the case said would enable her to go to the local car dealership and "pick out whatever type of Toyota she wants."
Whether the outcomes in the Hummer and
Barbara "hoot suit routes loot" Mikkelson
Last updated: 29 January 2014
Molloy, Tim. "Woman Sues Over Radio Station's Toy Hummer April Fools' Prank." The Associated Press. 13 July 2005. Associated Press.
- "Woman Who Won Radio Contest Sues Over Offer of 100 Grand Candy Bar Instead of Cash."
24 June 2005. Associated Press. "Former Hooters Waitress Settles Toy Yoda Lawsuit." 9 May 2002.