- Jaleesa Jackson and Chiedozie Uwandu rented a guesthouse in Los Angeles for a weeklong vacation back in June.
- Their vacation took a turn for the worse when their host, JJ, reportedly broke into their bedroom in the middle of the night and terrorised them.
- The couple said Airbnb refunded them, but didn’t agree to pay the $US5,000 they requested to make up for the horrible experience.
A couple was forced to arm themselves with kitchen knives when their Airbnb “super host” broke into their rental in the middle of the night during what was supposed to be a relaxing getaway.
Jaleesa Jackson, 29, and Chiedozie Uwandu, 28, two anesthesiologists doing their residencies in Boston, told their story to The Boston Globe in an article published Monday.
The couple, who met in med school at Johns Hopkins University, both work gruelling schedules and were looking forward to some rest and relaxation when they flew to Los Angeles for a one-week vacation in June.
They told The Globe they booked a guesthouse on Airbnb that had excellent reviews, and their renter, JJ, was ranked a “super host” by the site. When they arrived, they said JJ lived up to that title, making sure there was a chilled bottle of wine waiting for the couple along with a welcome note.
But their first night in the house took a turn for the worse when Jackson woke at 5:30 a.m. to the sounds of banging at the door. She got out of bed and heard a man shout, “I know you’re in there, Kevin!”
When she opened the door, she confronted the crazed man and told him to go away. Then she shut the door and called JJ, and heard a mobile phone start ringing on the other side of the door. JJ confirmed her fear when he picked up the call, admitting that the yelling man had in fact been him.
“Yeah, that was me,” he said, according to Jackson. “Sorry about the confusion. Life’s too short for me to give you an explanation. Have a nice time in LA.”
The couple tried to brush off the incident, and had a nice day at the beach. But they said chaos struck again the following night, when a man crashed through their bedroom window at about 2 a.m. while they were sleeping, sending shards of glass flying everywhere.
Uwandu sprung into defensive mode, hopping on the intruder and pinning him to the ground.
“I had no idea what was happening,” he recalled to The Globe. “But I reacted like we were under attack.”
Jackson then grabbed her phone to call 911, but quickly recognised the man her boyfriend had tackled was none other than JJ.
JJ was able to free himself and ran out the door. While the couple waited for police to arrive, they barricaded themselves in the kitchen and armed themselves with the largest knives they could find, in case he came back.
Cops quickly apprehended JJ, and one of the officers told the couple that JJ “told the police that Airbnb had ordered him to evict [the couple] over cleaning fees.”
At some point, an elderly woman came out of the main house and asked the couple who they were. She said she owned the property and that JJ rented the guesthouse from her, but wasn’t supposed to be renting it out to others.
Jackson called Airbnb that night, and the company agreed to refund them the $US708 they had paid to rent the house for the week. But the couple said they didn’t get the credit until last week, after the Boston Globe made their first call to the company about the story.
Airbnb also reportedly offered to relocate the couple to another property for the remainder of their stay, but they declined, deciding to get a room at a nearby Hilton instead, which cost them $US2,300, including parking and other expenses.
They asked Airbnb for $US5,000 to cover this cost plus compensation for the traumatic experience they endured, but Airbnb’s final offer was $US2,700. The company offered to pay for five therapy sessions, according to The Globe, but the couple declined.
Business Insider reached out to both the company and the couple to see if there had been any update since the Boston Globe article came out. The couple did not respond, but Airbnb issued this statement.
“Our original handling of this incident fell well below the high standards we set for ourselves. We have apologised to Dr. Jackson and Dr. Uwandu for our insufficient response. We are currently working with them to make this right, and we are reviewing every aspect of this case from the reports of the host’s disturbing behaviour to our response. Our community’s safety is our priority, we are deeply sorry for the anguish and inconvenience our guests have experienced and again we are working to make it right,” the company said.
According to Airbnb’s website, the company says customers’ “safety is our priority” but “no screening system is perfect.” The company confirmed to The Globe that JJ “has been removed from our community.”
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