When we first set up our Airbnb business, we had no idea how it would impact our lives as personally as it has.
We have formed connections with folks that have gone far beyond a smooth and simple check in, check out automated process. Our business is family run and while we have had anniversaries, birthdays, marriage proposals, children recovering from life threatening surgeries etc, one of these most special connections began when a couple messaged us this heartbreaking note...
Hi Shaun. My husband, Nathan, and I live in WV and have three girls: Lucy (3 years), Dorothy (18 months), and Betty (6 months). On August 31st, our sweet Dorothy passed away in her sleep. We are heartbroken and are coming in to our first season of “firsts” without her. Lucy is really struggling, so we wanted to take her somewhere warm where she could have a big, new, happy memory. Although spending Christmas away from our home sounds sad, waking up Christmas morning to not having one of our girls would be too hard. Thank you so much for having somewhere where families like ours can go to heal. We are very grateful!
We were in tears while reading their note and Immediately sprung into action. We called our girls and together we said we have to do something for them.
It was Christmas time and they needed a place to heal.
Because They have two little girls, they rented one of our beach units. We have them themed and they chose our Let’s Flamingle one which is bright, pink and colorful with huge flamingo wallpaper and it’s just so happy, cute and feminine and they were drawn to the interior for their little girls.
They needed to make some new happy memories at Christmas time for the girls away from the home where they lost the baby and we were so honored that they chose us to do that with.
We bought a white Christmas tree with twinkle lights and decorated it with beautiful bright colors and pinks as well as with flamingos. We bought the two little girls a stuffed flamingo each and various Christmas gifts which we placed under the tree for them upon their arrival to make it special for them. We also did a care basket for mom and dad.
Their eldest daughter had mentioned that she thought her lost sister has now become a star, so we found a children’s book called How to catch a Star to read every Christmas going forward. When this family left us, they wrote the most beautiful cards to us and enclosed a photo of the little girls too, thanking us for making things just a tiny bit easier for them.
To be honest, we thought of them on Christmas Day and said a heartfelt prayer for them, that they would all be okay
We can’t explain how deeply and profoundly the Gregory family affected us and our business going forward
They changed the way we approach our Airbnb's to date. The people that pass through our properties are never mere numbers on a page or the bottom line on a spreadsheet, they are souls that are brought to us for a reason
We are so grateful to Airbnb for the “everyday” blessings we get to have and not-so-ordinary moments too
Of course the Gregory family booked Let’s Flamingle again this past Christmas, but had to cancel due to Covid and travel restrictions.
We will be waiting for our special family with open arms in December this year for sure
What a sweet story. How lovely of you to put so much into making this family's Christmas a healing, loving time.
Oddly enough, my youngest grandchild, now just over a year old, is named Flamingo. I doubt I'll ever make it to your neck of the woods, but if I did, I would bring her to stay in your flamingo-themed cabin.
@Shaun124What caring families you are.
The nod to Flamingos, is it because you have Flamingos living in your area?
I too have a Flamingo pattern cushion in my listing in the Guest Bedroom.
There's a lovely story to my inheriting it through the dear elderly lady I purchased my guest room bed from.
She was downsizing her home and kindly included extra bedlinen and bedroom setting pieces with the bed, including the cushion and Magical Flamingo cover on it
I was stoked and so many of my guests have made positive comments to me when I show them the bedroom and see the choice of linen and a Flamingo.
I'm forever very thankful to this wonderful lady and often say 'Thankyou' to her in my own little way.
Do you find they add to the tranquility of your home?
All the best for 2021 and may we all have Peace, Joy and fond memories .
Amazing story @Shaun124, thank you. Truly a life-affirming approach to running your business.
Have spent a many a fun night at Woody's and some of the other places pictured, love Corey Ave and everything about St. Pete Beach (Eckerd '79)
Thank you so much for sharing this story with us @Shaun124, and what a heartwarming one to finish off the Month of Celebration with. It's a testament to your fantastic hosting skills that you really went out of your way to provide exactly what the Gregorys needed at this point in their journey to healing, and personally made a connection with them too ❤️
I hope that things are back on track and they can return to Let’s Flamingle this year, and spend their Christmas with you in the sun.
I love the different themes you've given your listings - do many other hosts do this in your area?
Over the years, in connecting with other hosts and hearing their stories, I believe there is something magical that happens to some of us. Sure, we always start our businesses to make money, but at some point we realize this is about much more than that. As we share our homes, we also share parts of our lives. We educate and get educated. We bridge cultural gaps and reduce prejudice. We meet people from all over the world, sharing open-heartedly who we are. We are accepted and accepting. We might even make life-long friends. A host one time described it this way, saying, "it's like meeting that cousin you haven't met before. You know you are family." It sounds to me, @Shaun124 this is exactly the kind of experience you and your family had with the Gregory family. It was a heart-opening experience that has already made you an exceptional host. Thank you for sharing. ❤️
Hi @Shaun124 ,
That’s such a soul stirring tale of loss, hope. charity and selfless giving all rolled in one. Above all it’s a story of human connections- of strangers turning into friends and of guests turning into lifelong acquaintances. This is truly the essence of ABB and its primary reward to every member - the opportunity to bond with random people and make a difference in other people’s lives.
You guys did such a marvellous job in taking care of the Gregory family, and went above and beyond to provide the family with a place to heal. God bless you!
Here's wishing you guys a wonderful 2021 and to many more memorable connections!