BILLINGS — Kids in 65 homes across Billings and Laurel awoke Sunday morning to find 5,000 plastic eggs filled with candy hid across their yards, by Easter Bunnies with the Egg My Yard team.
Egg My Yard has been in business for three years hiding plastic Easter eggs in people's yards. The business is owned and operated by 19-year-old Madison Martinez of Billings. She said business really picked up as the calendar got closer to Easter Sunday.
“The beginning of this year I was really panicked with the pandemic. I was worried that things just wouldn’t work out. People just wouldn’t want to spend the money on stuff like this especially at a time like this. But as it grew closer to Easter things really started to pick up," Martinez said.
On Saturday night, the crew of about 10 Easter bunnies worked in the falling snow to hide all the eggs.
“The main thing that I was worried about was honestly leaving foot print tracks in the snow and being obvious. Because I want to be low key. But it’s kind of impossible not to leave footprints everywhere," said Jesc Gallegos, an Egg My Yard bunny and Martinez's friend.
For the most part, enough snow fell overnight to cover the bunny's tracks. And on Easter Sunday, kids seemed to enjoy the hunt for the brightly colored eggs.
“The little ones had a blast. It seemed like the younger ones were enjoying themselves. The older ones were a little more hesitant to get out there. But I think everyone really had a good time," Martinez said.
Some of Egg My Yard's customers were rightfully concerned about sanitation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Martinez said cleanliness is one of her top priorities, because she is considered high risk if she contracts the virus.
“I suffer from type 1 diabetes, crohn's disease and a heart condition. So I have a lot going on ... There's not a specialty in town that I don't see," Martinez said.
Martinez has been quarantined at her home for about a month based on recommendations from her doctor. The egg-hiding on Saturday night was the first time she's been out of the house since.
“We had a couple questions. It seemed like people were pretty understanding. We were wearing masks and gloves all night. So I think that helped kind of ease the fears people were having," Martinez said.
With orders coming in later than expected this year, the team had to make a few dashes to the store for plastic eggs and candy. Martinez enlisted the help of her friends for the task, so she didn't have to put herself at risk by heading to the store.
“I remember before even getting out of that car to exchange stuff with Madison, I quite literally Lysolled my entire body. I don’t know if that’s effective, but I did it," Gallegos said.
Martinez was able to pay her friends and/or employees for their time. Something that helped out Gallegos since she had been layed off from her job as a restaurant server and bar tender.
“I did just get laid off. So having something to do, I probably would have gone insane if I didn’t have anything to do," Gallegos said.
Martinez thanked her friends for all the help they've given over her three years in business. And she thanked the community for its support.
“There’s no one out there that could really understand just how humbled I am with the support that I’ve been given from strangers, from family, from friends. People have really rallied behind me and behind my business. I’m truly grateful," Martinez said.
Martinez is taking 18 credits towards a psychology major this semester at Montana State University Billings. She said her goal is to become a clinical psychologist specializing with children.
“Ideally I would like to work with kids who are chronically ill. More specifically at Children's Hospital Colorado. That’s the hospital that’s taken the most care of me besides the Billings Clinic obviously. So it would be super meaningful to give back to the place that gave so much to me.”