I remember when Ebay was relatively new. They ran an advert in the United States with scenes of people doing kind gestures for one another. The commercial said that their company’s success was based on the principle that people are inherently good.
I recently started renting out my second bedroom on Airbnb. I did it for a few reasons. The first is that I could use the extra money while I’m working part time but, at the same time, I didn’t want to have a permanent roommate. I also loved the concept from an environmental perspective. For every 100 people that are staying in an empty spare bedroom, there is one less hotel that needs to be built. It also provides a more economical and comfortable option for travellers on a budget.
Most importantly, I did it because I love meeting new people. However, no matter how optimistic one can be about the goodness of others, I had my reservations. What if they steal from me? What if they wreck my house? What if the unmentionable happens? What if, what if, what if?
Prior to listing my spare bedroom, I knew two other people that were currently doing it and they both had only good experiences. So, I dived in.
My first guest was a local women trying to start a business and needed to be in the city for a few networking events and meetings. She stayed only four nights and I barely saw her. However, we had a chat just before she left and I talked to her about my reservations of having two males stay with me next.
“You are a good person, therefore, you can only invite good into your life. I wouldn’t worry about it.”
So, I didn’t.
That very day, two gentlemen from Chile walked through my door. I was a little excited to practise my Spanish and to get to know them, but I still had my reservations.
For the first three nights, our paths did not cross. They were so quiet, polite, and clean and I was very busy with work and my Spanish classes.
Then, one day, I came home early from work and there they were at my kitchen table.
“Estefani, we no see you this whole time!!”
And then it just went off. The next six days of my life were filled with big hellos when I returned from work, a trip to a theme park, board games that were previously collecting dust, cooking, a minor but funny car accident, ice cream, and movies. In addition, everything in my house is now labelled in Spanish (some of it misspelled) to help me learn quicker for my visit to Chile.
When I dropped them at the airport, I was very sad and the sadness grew bigger when I returned to my house to find a gift bag with wine and cookies and the most precious note in Spanish (and I only had to look up half of the words).
I was sad to see them go, but they were just what I needed to remind me that people are inherently good, just like Ebay said.
And the journey continues with my next guest up from Hobart. She arrived with a gift of local honey. Everyone who has come through my door thus far has a story to share with me.
What is yours?