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Disabled Host Balks After Airbnb Demands She Refund Guests Who Didn’t Like Her Accessible Doorbell

@thisworldcanbeaccessible/TikTok

It’s an unfortunate truth that some people continue to not be supportive of the disabled community.

But some are so anti-disabled people, or ableist, they will literally demand a refund for being “exposed” to a disabled person.

Jade, or @thisworldcanbeaccessible on TikTok, shared her experience with two allegedly ableist people when she opened up her home as an Airbnb location to them.

Jade has shared an upwards of 60 videos on TikTok, describing the incident involving the ableist couple.

The video for which TikTok really started to take notice was one simply featuring Jade’s doorbell.

In a voiceover, Jade explained:

“So I’ve contacted Airbnb Help, and they aren’t getting back to me, so I’ve just decided I’m going to upload on here and hoping with the help of social media, I’ll finally get somebody from Airbnb Help to contact me about this awful, discriminatory situation.” 

@thisworldcanbeaccessible Really hoping this will get Airbnbs attention and get them to call me back. The guests are demanding that i remove all dosability aids from mynown home and if not that i leave. I have offered a refubd if they oeave but they are saying they shoupdnt have to leave wheb they have booked and that i am wrong for not “warning them” that i have a disability 🤨#disability #Airbnb ♬ original sound – ThisWorldCanBeAccessible

As it turned out, the incident began with Jade’s accessible doorbell, which looked like any other doorbell, except it rang and lit up when touched.

Allegedly, the customers Jade had staying at her residence were prejudiced against the use of accessibility tools and demanded their immediate removal or for the three men to be fully refunded for their terrible experience with the doorbell and other accessible tools in the house.

Jade captioned the video:

“Really hoping this will get Airbnb’s attention and get them to call me back. The guests are demanding that I remove all disability aids from my own home and if not removed, that I leave.”

“I have offered a refund if they leave but they are saying they shouldn’t have to leave when they have booked and that I am wrong for not ‘warning them’ that I have a disability.”

Jade later posted three videos that more thoroughly detailed the incident, as well as Airbnb’s assistance in the moment, or their lack thereof.

The three people were presumably difficult to work with even before they arrived, as they had changed their arrival time multiple times and later did not appear at their scheduled time.

When they did arrive, however, they ended up submitting a report, because they were unwilling to touch Jade’s doorbell.

One of the customers later alluded to being able to “catch” someone’s disability, which presumably would explain why they would be unwilling to utilize the same doorbell as Jade.

@thisworldcanbeaccessible♬ original sound – ThisWorldCanBeAccessible

In the second video of the detailed account, Jade described the group actually entering her home. While they repeatedly addressed her disability, Jade simply gave them a tour of the facilities she was providing as well as the room they would be staying in.

Jade was really taken aback by the experience:

“I know ableism exists, but I’ve never had someone be so aggressive in my home and yelling at me.”

@thisworldcanbeaccessible♬ original sound – ThisWorldCanBeAccessible

As soon as Jade left the three customers in their room, she closed herself into the back room of her home and contacted Airbnb. While the employee assisting her seemed concerned, they suggested either refunding the customers in full and asking them to leave or leaving her own home while they were staying there to distance herself from them.

In the third video, the customers were more insistent about knowing more about her disabilities and what they could “catch” off of her in regards to her disability.

Jade contacted Airbnb, and they recommended relocating the guests if she was unwilling to leave her home for the duration of their stay, and if she would “foot the bill” of relocating them by refunding them in full.

Jade was upset by the suggestion:

“I still don’t think it’s right that these guests get refunded.”

“The guests even made it clear that it’s not the place, it’s me.”

@thisworldcanbeaccessible♬ original sound – ThisWorldCanBeAccessible

TikTok was furious on Jade’s behalf and hoped that she would not provide a refund.

@thisworldcanbeaccessible/TikTok
@thisworldcanbeaccessible/TikTok
@thisworldcanbeaccessible/TikTok
@thisworldcanbeaccessible/TikTok
@thisworldcanbeaccessible/TikTok
@thisworldcanbeaccessible/TikTok
@thisworldcanbeaccessible/TikTok
@thisworldcanbeaccessible/TikTok

After the guests left the next day, Jade reached out to Airbnb again and was redirected to their safety team, who did not return her calls at the time.

Jade has since discovered that disabled hosts are not covered by their safety team, but only their customer service team who primarily provide refunds rather than safety solutions.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.