Sometimes Guests amaze me with how thoughtful and generous they can be....
I have hosted more than 500 guests in 25+ San Francisco-area AirBnBs in the past 3 years. I have had the privilege of interacting with many, many terrific guests from all over the world--and a handful of difficult ones. This Month of Celebration post is a shout-out to a guest named Stephen F who went WAY above and beyond what any good guest could reasonably be expected to do.
In case your faith in humanity has been tested by nasty 2020 politics, the COVID pandemic or other recent disasters, read on!
One of my Co-Hosts and I were hosting a young couple who were sheltering in place for 2 months during COVID at our home in San Jose, California. The wife was 8 months pregnant and she and her husband were working hard. They asked my Co-host Lan if they could extend past Christmas and through January to have their baby while living in our AirBnB home and avoid a move right before the baby was born. Lan readily agreed, eager to accommodate their extended stay and provide some stability for them during the late stages of their pregnancy. Unbeknownst to Lan, an incoming guest named Stephen had auto-booked the house for January, February and March through AirBnB. Oh no--double-booking dilemma!!
Lan and I put our heads together to find a solution. She volunteered to book another nearby place on AirBnB, and I agreed to ask Stephen if he would be willing to stay in another (smaller) home for the first month of his stay. We also decided that I would offer Stephen $200 for the inconvenience of staying in a smaller home.
I hate these interactions! "Hey, remember that AirBnB reservation you made with us? Um, well, we screwed up on our end and offered it to someone else. Do you mind changing your plans completely to accommodate our mistake? We're normally really good hosts, but here's what happened..." Needless to say, I was fully prepared for Stephen to reject our proposal and cancel his 3-month reservation, leaving the house unbooked during our slow season.
I emailed Stephen and carefully explained that my generous Co-Host and I had unknowingly promised his rental home for January to the pregnant couple who stayed there in December. I explained that we would like to offer him $200 for the inconvenience, and I apologized profusely for our mistake. Here is the response he sent:
"Thank you Ethan, and I totally understand. I am a father of two and having to move at that point in the pregnancy would be a tough thing.
I will take the other listing for the first month and will plan on moving to the original listing afterwards.
Also, instead of refunding me the $200, please offer the pregnant couple that same amount off of their bill and wish them Congratulations for me. Thank you!
I read Stephen's message. Then I read it again, unsure if such a guest was for real. "What?!" I said out loud. "Who IS this guy?? Who DOES that for strangers??!!"
I still smile when I think of my Co-Host's mistake a month ago and the young couple who ultimately benefited from it. And I REALLY smile when I think of Stephen. The pregnant wife is going to have her baby this month while living in our AirBnB in San Jose. Thanks to a generous guest who she has never met, she and her husband have $200 more to spend. I hope they spend it on all the little things that you can't imagine you will need before you have a child--and then can't imagine life without after you have a child. This couple thinks that my Co-Host and I are miracle workers. And the two of them, my Co-Host and I have all learned that angels do exist--right here on Earth--if we offer them opportunities to make their greatness known to us mortals.
Wow @Ethan52 - faith officially restored! I think this story was just what we needed to hear at this point, thanks so much for sharing 😊
Fingers crossed everything goes well with your guests' baby, and that Stephen likes his interim place, and well done to you and Lam for sorting the situation out and keeping everyone happy 👏 You'll have to keep us up to date on how it all goes!
Check out the latest posts from the Month of Celebration!
Thanks for the story.....
I have to say @Ethan52, your story sounds too good to be true: more an ending to a wonderful fiction best seller. But then again, maybe I’m just an old cynic who will smile and quietly say YES as I punch the air! The world is still a wonderful place! 💐
What an incredibly beautiful story of humanity @Ethan52 >
What are the odds of the couple with the baby now naming their child after one of you?
This is how we should all be making friends for life.
I hope you all keep in touch throughout in the years to come.
The baby sure has created a treasured memory for you all.
Have you considered planting a flower/ rose or tree surrounded with flowers in your garden in memory of all involved as a Living Memorial ? It's a great way to reflect on these magic moments in years to come
All the best from New Zealand