You roll the dice when you open your house up to strangers. But there’s something about knowing that people are in someone’s home that gives you the edge.
We didn’t get robbed. We didn’t come home to find our mattresses torn apart in search of jewels (would be in vain, I can assure you). Our walls weren’t spray painted and our neighbors didn’t tell us of raging drunk parties.
What happened took us some time to figure out.
We rent out our place often to Airbnb (and VRBO, HomeExchange, etc.) on an irregular basis. We like having people in our home so it’s not empty when we’re gone, the income is sure a bonus, you occasionally get to stay in French villas overlooking the Mediterranean and sometimes there are surprises so out of the ordinary that you know you’re doing the right thing.
Random acts of completely unexpected and even baffling kindness.
If you watch the news (I try to avoid it), you might think the world is made up of only gun-slinging terrorists and road-raged, late-for-the-job-they-hate postal workers. But when you open your home to someone, you let them into your life and there’s a level of trust that you might not even have with a friend.
What type of person does this sort of thing?
We received a letter in the mail today–already a suspicious sign these days! Who writes letters anymore? We didn’t recognize the name, the city or even the state as a place where we know anyone. But then the glued-on coin gave it away.
My wife is Dutch, we go to Holland sometimes. We bring home change. Especially useless 2-cent Euro coins. Apparently, the woman staying in our house over the holiday accidentally picked up a 2-cent Euro coin from somewhere in our house and brought it home with her. No big deal. It’s worth about 2 cents.
Dare we expect the unexpected?
But when she got home, she found it. Personally, I would have thought to myself, “Oh, hmm, that’s odd. Where did this come from?” Maybe I would have tried to figure it out, guessed it came from the house where we stayed, and debated if it was worth sending back, even for sentimental reasons, and 94% sure I wouldn’t have sent it back. Nah, make that 98.6%.
But she glued the coin to a card and sent it back to us. She doesn’t even know our names. In fact, the front of the card said, “The Family at … ” and the next line was our address. That she knew, she stayed here. She slept in our beds and drank from our glasses. She was a part of this house at least for a few days.
But what type of person takes the time to make such a gesture? Are we so jaded that I think this act of kindness is so odd? Apparently so! But her card made me stop and think, slow down and weigh who this woman might be, about what type of person does such a thing.
When there is so much news that is bad, here is a ray of good. It’s strong and bright and makes me smile. No, really, I’m smiling as I write this. It’s a gift, really. Not the 2 cents, but the gesture, the idea, the thought, the care, the intention. It’s beauty. It’s joy.
- Possible: break a wine glass and don’t tell the owner
- Impossible: rent your place out to only screened, tested, robotic non-humans who will do no harm (or good)
- Repossible: return a 2-cent coin in the mail