My Filthy Airbnb

My Filthy Airbnb

We had set up with the owner that we would stop by our Tiberias Airbnb at 1 PM this Friday to drop off our bags and put Shabbat food in the fridge. When we set this up the owner reminded me that we would only be able to actually check-in at 3 PM, to give time to clean the apartment after the previous occupants.

When we stopped by at 1 PM, I was really impressed! The apartment had a perfect view of the Sea of Galilee, it was only 2 doors down from the building’s shul, and as far as I could see (beside the mess left by the previous occupants) it was a nicely renovated and all around really nice apartment. And for a great price too.
I left our bags and food in the fridge and took Yoni to the beach, and then visited some Kivrei Tsadikim (I made a deal with Yoni that for every boring gravesite Eema takes him to, he gets an ice cream:).
By the time we returned to the apartment, it was only an hour before Shabbat. Imagine my surprise when I found that the apartment was still in the same state of pre-cleaning upheaval that I’d found it when we dropped off our bags!
I tried messaging the owner. Then calling her. Then whatsapping her. But there was no response.
This was supposed to be my big vacation, my Shabbat off from cooking and cleaning, which as a person who regularly hosts a home-full of guests, was meant to be one of the highlights of this Shabbat in Tiberias. So I was not a happy camper as I washed the dirty floor with a wet bath towel and made a large pile of dirty sheets and towels in the extra bedroom.
I turned off my phone, lit the candles. And I felt Shabbat wash over me. But I couldn’t escape the angry thoughts.
I would write such a devastating review for this irresponsible owner, she would have no more customers for months!
Or better yet, I would demand that she return all my money!
Or better yet, I would demand for her to give us 2 other free nights later in the summer! It would be a nice getaway with Josh. That’s the least she could do after ruining this vacation I’d looked forward to so much!
Yoni and I ate dinner, and around 9 PM there was a knock at the door. There in the flesh was the target of all my fury: our owner.
She looked nervous, shaken up. When she saw my messages, she told me, she had been very upset and called her cleaner right away. Only then did she find out the terrible news, that he had been hit by a car while riding his bike on Friday afternoon! (I later found out that after being treated for a head injury and receiving multiple stitches, he was released home Friday night B”H).
Of all the scenarios that had crossed my angry mind, the possibility that the owner had a good, justifiable reason for not providing a clean apartment hadn’t even made a quick appearance.
This story reminded me how, when things go wrong, our default reaction is to be upset and indignant and angry. And that might seem like the most logical response. But it’s also possible that the most logical response, rather than knee-jerk blame, is knee-jerk giving the other person the benefit of the doubt.


  1. I do hope she gave you some kind of pitzui. At the end of the day, she needs to take responsibility, even if the cleaner had a perfectly valid reason.

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