Dead Airbnb host leaves me scurrying for motel room in Martinsville

Published On March 24, 2018 | By John Haverlin | Uncategorized

When you travel across the country to cover auto racing, a lot of strange things can happen.

Friday night’s events might be at the top of my list.

My first day at Martinsville Speedway went very smoothly. I left from Long Island, New York at 4:40 a.m., and made it to the short track in less than 10 hours by car. I watched the final Truck Series practice of the day and went to dinner with a friend.

After we left the restaurant, he went to his hotel, and I drove to my Airbnb. I’ve stayed at these suburban accommodations more than a dozen times before, and not once have I ever had a single issue. It’s a great company with fantastic customer support.

But the resident of the place I booked had no idea who I was or why I arrived at their home.

I walked up to the front porch, knocked on the door, and this is how the conversation went:

“Hello, I’m John. I’m the Airbnb guest.”

The woman who answered the door said, “You’re who with what?”

“John. I booked this place a few weeks ago through Airbnb.”

“I have no idea what that is.”

We both stood there confused, so I asked if the host (the person Airbnb’s site had listed as the homeowner) was available.

“Oh, she’s no longer with us. She’s no longer living,” the woman said as she shook her head with an expression of grief.

“Oh, um … OK,” I said. “Sorry to disturb you.”

I got back into my car and thought about what to do. I figured my best bet would be to go back to the main road that the speedway is on and find the closest hotel.

Luckily, I was able to book one night at the first motel I saw. When I got into my room, I called Airbnb’s support number, explained the situation, and they gave me a full refund and an additional 10 percent of my original purchase for my travel expenses.

It was just an odd situation that I thought needed to be written. I suppose all I can say is a thank you to Airbnb’s Help Center and rest in peace to my supposed-to-be host.

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About The Author

— a Long Island, New York native, is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he studied communication and journalism. Since 2013, he has covered auto racing’s various forms, including NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, IMSA, and Formula E. During his downtime, he likes to play his Les Paul guitar, hit the golf course and watch the New York Mets.

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