Dodged a bullet - funny in hindsight, disturbing at the time. GO!

My first airbnb was the master suite of a townhouse along coastal Florida. A hurricane was approaching and folks were evacuating from the beaches, coming across the intracoastal waterway to higher ground. And I forgot to turn off instabook…

The bridges would soon be closing to traffic when I received a message that John was arriving in four hours. We spoke and he said that he and his girlfriend were coming from the beach with her 14 YO son who was schizophrenic, but controlled with meds. And also that he and his girlfriend vaped, but would only do so outside…

Years before I evacuated to Atlanta with my kids just because I didn’t want to be stuck inside with them during a hurricane…the thought of being inside with two vaping adults and a schizophrenic teenage boy was terrifying!

Reading it now, it sounds like a prank…but it was for real. Fortunately my listing prohibited kids and smoking, so I didn’t get dinged for cancelling his reservation.


I wish I could play along. I’ve nothing to compare to that.


Hey, at least those folks were upfront and honest. A lot of guests wouldn’t have even mentioned those things. Funny, what would be total no-way for some hosts and a go for others. If I had a listing large enough to accommodate that many, I’d have accepted them, if for no other reason than their open honesty, which is a trait that I feel would bode well. Vaping doesn’t bother me at all and as long as the kid was on medication, he’s probably fine. Schizophrenics aren’t generally dangerous or destructive, they just talk to the voices in their head.

I can’t say I’ve ever had a dodge a bullet story. I guess my hosting life is pretty dull.


Not sure where you get these ideas. One shot and killed a good friend of ours. The disease can be incredibly destructive and dangerous. It helps even less when the afflicted has their own reality.

I’m so sorry to hear that. I have known several schizophrenics and they were as I described.

I have to say, I don’t understand why you have seemingly made it your personal mission to seek out my posts and respond negatively to all of them. Get over it.

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Thank you for the sympathy. As to the rest, your remark was hard to simply ignore. We lost a very dear friend. He left behind a wife and two children. He was 43.

If you reread my post, you will see that I said “generally”. There are dangerous people out there with all sorts of mental problems, but it doesn’t mean all the people with those mental problems are dangerous.


Never mind - you are obviously completely correct … as always. You could have just left it at “sorry about your friend”.

“Not sure where you get these ideas” “you are obviously completely correct…as always”

You continue to attack me. Other posters don’t seem to have such reactions to my posts.


Sigh … get over it. Not everything is about you personally. Your initial “I’m so sorry to hear that” was appreciated and would have sufficed in full. Let it go.

Whilst I too am sorry for the loss of your friend, I agree with Muddy that people with schizophrenia are not generally dangerous or destructive.

I say that from having worked in the mental health field for over forty years, including twenty as a senior nurse clinician in a progressive London Teaching Hospital.

It is very rare for a person with schizophrenia to kill others; they are more likely to commit suicide.

The media has a lot to answer from when it comes to labelling people with acute mental health problems as dangerous, as do failing societies who marginalise those viewed as “other”.

And then of course, the elephant in the room is gun ownership.


I concur with @muddy and @Joan that it’s not generally true. It’s really not typical of this particular diagnosis. I’ve worked with schizophrenics for 25 years.


Indeed this is so. This does not lessen that the disease is intensely dangerous and destructive. It is horrifically so to those who are close: family and friends. I actually happen to know far more than I would wish in this regard, as my older brother has been so afflicted for the last 40 years.

@joan @JJD
I applaud you for your service in the health field. Truly. As someone on the other side of what you experienced, I can sympathize with your many tough days. I hope that you were able to leave it at work and not take it home with you. It was rather different on our side.

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You are absolutely incorrect. A schizophrenic child or adult that is on medication and regularly monitored by a mental health provider can lead a normal life. You are profiling someone with a mental illness and in this case, a child. The fact that he is a child and would be with his parents would have made me completely comfortable with the situation. Of course, I would still have asked important questions about medication and mental health history.


Please don’t condescend to tell me how “normal” it can be with “meds etc”. We have lived with it for 40 years. You were not there.

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I think the operative word here, by @soflohost, is can. I agree with her that most people with a psychotic illness can lead normal lives. It would seem that your personal experience is of someone with intractable, hard to treat symptoms, which I do know is devastating for families concerned.

Of course, some of these people are unwilling to take medication regularly, are hard to engage with services or are habitual dope users. It is just as important to work with families, as with the individual, particularly where families develop a dynamic of feeling victimised.

Whilst I respect your personal experiences, these are personal. I am inclined to feel that you are being condescending towards people who clearly work in the field, rather than @soflohost being condescending towards you.

I do have an issue with calling people “schizophrenics”. It is depersonalising at best and calls people out as “other”. I prefer to say “people with schizophrenia” or “who have schizophrenia”.

We don’t call some with cancer “a cancer”, as if that is the sum total of their being, nor do we call someone with appendicitis “an appendicitis”.


Posters are rightly offended by your broad brushing of schizophrenics. The quote to which you responded was “schizophrenics aren’t generally dangerous…” which is true. It’s illogical for you to keep trying to make a thread discussing schizophrenia about what happened to you.


@joan, you do not need to defend @soflohost. She is an adult and decided to jump into the middle of this, starting with “you are absolutely incorrect”. So, yeah that strikes me as arrogant and condescending. I doubt she bothered to read the full thread, with the context going back to the OP topic.

A far more appropriate response would be “sorry for your experience - today’s meds are much better, etc”.

I have no idea if she’s “in the field” or not. Regardless, that is different from being forced to live with it as a family. We never got to “go home and put that away”. We spent a tremendous amount of time with people in the system. Professional degrees are no more or less valid than experience, and unfortunately we have a lifetime of those.

How about all of us walk away from this conversation now? There is nothing to be gained by anyone.


You have made assumptions above that grate. I could attest that professionals, with or without degrees, are not immune to having family with serious mental health issues, but such matters are, for me, confidential.

So this is disturbing first then funny.
I rent a room in my 2 bedroom condo and have to let guests in. so part of the booking process is the guest accepting that I’ll contact them a week before their arrival date and confirm check in time.
For one guest I was told yes, not a problem. It was a couple travelling about. about 10 days before their arrival i reached out and nothing. next day i emailed again, nothing. again and again. until it reached 4 days prior to their arrival.

Now I was a bit concerned. on their check in day I had gotten booked for work on a 16 hour call. Something I couldn’t turn down but had a friend who was willing to hang out at my place and check my guests in for me. However, she can’t stay there all day and i wanted to set the check in time to a 4 hour block. Facts I had been conveying since I started emailing them 10 days prior to their check in.

So I called airbnb and told them my dilemma. They both emailed and called the number associated with the account (i could not call as their number was international). nothing. so airbnb set up a 3 way email between me, the guest and them and we both repeatedly emailed daily. from day 4 to check in day I added “If you don’t reach out to me you won’t be able to check in until midnight when I get back from work”. absolutely nothing.

day of I get a phone call at 2pm. its the guests, wanting in. I told them that i was sorry, but I had been trying to get ahold of them for 10 days and they had not emailed or answered their phone. I am at work until 11pm. My friend, even stayed there from 8am thru 1pm in case they showed up but alas, they arrived too late. obviously the guest was upset but what could I do? i was 45 minutes away by transit and i couldn’t leave my job, i was supervising a crew of 50 people. so i politely told him that I was sorry that he hadn’t gotten the emails, but i made it clear prior to accepting his request that we would have to confirm check in time a week prior and they accepted this. he tried to deny it and i apologized but told him i had to get back to work.

he called again and again. left multiple threatening messages. telling me that i would be responsible for his wife who was exhausted and needed to sit and that i was a terrible person. then, he actual began to threaten me himself. that he was going to start buzzing everyone in the building, break into the suite, not his fault if his anger got the best of him etc…

so i called airbnb during my break, practically in tears. cuz wtf dude. you screwed up not me and threatening me now?? I managed to get airbnb to cancel the reservation - this was right around the time where cancelling was still really difficult via the phone app and i didn’t want to lose my super host status because of something not my fault. I gave airbnb the number that the couple called from. which was a different number than that in their account.

so now it gets funny (maybe more ironic?)
airbnb cancels the reservation and helps them find another place nearby. but only for the one night.
literally 2 hours later i get a reservation request. from a guy with the same last name as the guests that just cancelled. i message him, asking him if he’s the guy who was supposed to stay at my place. he tells me that airbnb called him, cancelled the reservation at my place and helped them to find another place for tonight but didn’t tell them why. I asked why he created a new account. he then admits that the account he and his wife had been using was his son’s account. so apparently his son had been making bookings for them but didn’t give them access to his account or pass along the information. I politely tell him no, sorry, i can’t accept reservations at this time and decline his booking.

so it was stressful at the time - I could not stop shaking my head at the stupidity of just not creating their own account - because if they had none of this would have happened. and luckily I got guests that booked later that day, while i was at work, who impulsively decided to drive up north for a trip.