In its ten years of existence, Airbnb has changed the hospitality game by allowing users to offer up their home as lodging for strangers. It also allows travelers some cheaper digs while making money for those offering up their homes.
Sounds like a great business model, right?
But as with any good thing, it’s inevitably misused now and then by selfish or even violent people. That’s what happened to one woman after renting out a room to a particularly frightful guest.
The woman, Alavia Khawaja, rented out a room in her home to a man named Leonard Jackson. Over the course of his stay, Jackson would destroy Khawaja’s property and steal from her, armed while doing so.
Get ready for a wild ride.
So, I Airbnb out a room in my apartment. I had a guest checking in; Everything was normal— I come home to this man cleaning up my apartment. He picked the lock on my bedroom, threw away every photo I had of male friends, and went thru my closet..— Alavia Khawaja (@EmpressAloeVera) October 27, 2018
I confronted him and he denied everything. I kicked him out and he had the audacity to tell me to refund him. I found out an hour later that he stole cash (around $500) and immediately contacted Airbnb— Alavia Khawaja (@EmpressAloeVera) October 27, 2018
I called the police and gave my statement. The PD had trouble locating his “clean record” and that meant they didn’t take me seriously— Alavia Khawaja (@EmpressAloeVera) October 27, 2018
Even after stealing from her and being kicked out of the apartment, Jackson continued to show obsessive behavior as police and Airbnb were less than helpful.
Then he started texting me. I ignored him. So he went on to message me on Airbnb pic.twitter.com/qU3djwylZ3— Alavia Khawaja (@EmpressAloeVera) October 27, 2018
The PD and Airbnb did nothing to help me so I decided to text him back, and he immediately responded pic.twitter.com/LP4WX3sepZ— Alavia Khawaja (@EmpressAloeVera) October 27, 2018
Since he told me he was on his way, I called PD again and they said they can’t do anything. And that once I see him I should call 911— Alavia Khawaja (@EmpressAloeVera) October 27, 2018
I parked my car across the complex where I could keep an eye on my door. He was still texting me. “ I better not have any guys there” “bathroom better be clean” “I need condoms”— Alavia Khawaja (@EmpressAloeVera) October 27, 2018
As soon as he showed up, I called the police. They arrested him for trespassing and caught him with THREE pistols on him. They assured me that he would be in jail for a while........but was released 24 hours later— Alavia Khawaja (@EmpressAloeVera) October 27, 2018
He tried calling me four times from jail. Then he messaged me on Airbnb and that’s how I found out that he was out. The police didn’t tell me, they were “too busy”— Alavia Khawaja (@EmpressAloeVera) October 27, 2018
Khawaja called out Airbnb for its hesitation to help prevent Jackson from doing the same thing again.
I told Airbnb all of this. It took them about two weeks to do anything about it. They deleted his profile yesterday. This is trash service. I could’ve been murdered. This is a warning to everyone who uses Airbnb— Alavia Khawaja (@EmpressAloeVera) October 27, 2018
If my friend had not been with me during the first confrontation, who knows what would have happened to me pic.twitter.com/Y4Y4K2dfHM— Alavia Khawaja (@EmpressAloeVera) October 27, 2018
The story had people amazed and horrified.
That’s terrible. One of my worst fears is being stalked and harassed. Be careful, document everything, tell a loved one of your whereabouts.....and DONT entertain him. Stay safe!— Kloé (@MVSSYMAYHEM) October 28, 2018
This thread is terrifying. I’m glad you’re okay 💞— Legendary (@tyleahthedope) October 28, 2018
Wow dude what the fuck— kaleidoscope eyes (@peachesindreams) October 28, 2018
Please move out of that home.
Police are useless.
Even Airbnb responded to the wild thread.
Hi Alavia, we'd like to look into this urgently. Will you please send us a DM with the full name, email address, and phone number as it appears on your account? We'll be standing by.— Airbnb Help (@AirbnbHelp) October 27, 2018
But by then, they were too late.
You're standing by weeks later? No thanks. Will never use Airbnb again.— polar seltzer stan (@gallbladdrpolyp) October 27, 2018
Jesus christ, lol! This is AirBnB's service? I'll be referencing people to this thread from here on out. Your business model is flawed with negligent customer services.— Law Cop's stunt pussy (@Exosynjii) October 28, 2018
I hope these people find a good lawyer.
Sounds like the time to look into it urgently was weeks ago and your company failed to take it seriously when it mattered— Single Payer Now | Abolish ICE | Boycott Israel (@blueherring32) October 28, 2018
Are you kidding!? Reaching out to her on Twitter after she could’ve been killed and received no response from you for WEEKS!! This company is trash!!!— Miranda (@MzNeauxla) October 28, 2018
It’s fortunate that Khawaja is safe, but it’s also clear that Airbnb must be more vigilant in verifying the identities of tenants and more responsive in assisting hosts.