Craigslist can be a perverted place. A recent search found its South Florida page clogged with creepy casual-encounter ads. "In beach hotel looking for a young stud," one said. Another simply read, "I want to feel a man's fist."
But hidden among the sex addicts and the scammers are rare moments of heartfelt — dare we say heartbreaking — sincerity. One such post appeared February 26.
"I am looking for this bunny," Jessica Acosta wrote underneath a photo of an absurdly cute rabbit with sparkling blue eyes. "I had it on hold for my daughter and it was not supposed to be sold. My daughter is devastated and she won't stop crying."
She continued, "I am willing to pay double what you purchased it for. Please, my daughter has had a hard life and she really wants this bunny." Then came an odd warning: "Don't try to scam us either. She has a real connection with this animal, and she will know if it is her or not."
Could a plea this tragic be real? We had to know. Reached by Riptide, Acosta explained how the fluffy animal had upended her household. Her daughter, Raven Suarez, had just turned 16, so Acosta took her to the Pet Supermarket on Bird Road in South Miami. Suarez instantly fixated on a white bunny with azure eyes that put Sinatra to shame.
"I saw this bunny, and she blew my mind," Suarez says.
Acosta made a deal. If Suarez could get 100 "likes" on her Instagram photo of the rabbit, she could buy it. The teenager spent all night pushing the picture online. The next day, they returned to the store to buy the bunny — which Suarez had already named Asuna Luna Akira — but were told to buy food and a cage first. Employees said they wouldn't sell the rabbit in the meantime.
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When Suarez sprinted into the Pet Supermarket hours later, however, Asuna was gone. The bunny had been sold to someone else. Suarez burst into tears. "Everybody was looking at me," she admits. "For them to get my hopes up that high and then turn me down like that and tell me they already sold her, I just couldn't take it."
Luis, a manager at Pet Supermarket, says the store did nothing wrong. "Birds, rabbits, fish we cannot put on hold," he says over the chirp of parakeets. "Because what if the animal dies overnight?"
Suarez is inconsolable. The Craigslist ad hasn't yielded any leads, and Acosta's offers to buy her daughter another bunny have fallen on deaf ears. "She's the only bunny I ever wanted," Suarez says. "I still can't get over her."