What happened when I got locked out of my Air bnb with no shoes on

Superhero cartoon

Perched on the edge of the porch swing, my face and toes in the sun, I balanced my plate in one hand and thought, This isn’t such a bad consolation.


I was in Nashville. The following day, I was going to be speaking at Jeff GoinsTribe Conference, and I’d come out a day early to enjoy some of Music City.

Except… work was keeping me bound to my Airbnb. A last-minute change in my stage time meant I had re-writing to do, and there were a couple of unavoidable Skype meetings. The first in ten minutes, in fact.

I took a snack to eat on the porch, so that I’d at least get a little of the glorious midday sun on my face and bare feet. There was some construction happening across the road, but otherwise it was quiet on the leafy street.

Five minutes later, I finished and carried my plate up to the front door. I clasped the handle, and…nothing. It didn’t turn. What?

Then I realised. The door was locked.

The door that was the only door in. The door whose key was inside. Along with my host’s number. And my phone. And my shoes. Oh. NO.

After trying the handle multiple times, wondering if there was another way in, thinking, I’m staying here alone and already a bit scared at night so I hope there ISN’T another way in; thinking, Nooooooooooooo!! I have a meeting in ten minutes!!; thinking, HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENING???! – I eventually ran, barefoot, into the street, and up to the construction worker who was nearest, leaning against a tree in his hardhat and towel-against-the-sun combo.

“Hi!” I said, and he stood up straight and smiled at me from under his sunglasses. “I have a weird favour to ask…” and suddenly realised I might cry. “I’m staying in an Airbnb here, and…I just locked myself out. And I don’t have my phone, and I’m just…” I pointed down at my bare feet, “like this.”

He smiled even more broadly, Southernerly drawled, “That’s alright,” and, before I’d even asked him to, he’d pulled his phone out and set it to the dial pad.

“Actually,” I said, “I don’t even have the guy’s number. So I’d need to go on your internet and look it up…”

“No problem!” he grinned and called up the browser.

As I was logging into Airbnb, I asked his name (“Alan”), introduced myself and thanked him, again and again. Finally, I got my host’s number and gave him a call. He answered immediately and – praise be – told me there was a second lockbox with a second key.

I explained to Alan what happened. “Thank you SO much Alan!! You’re my hero!!”

I ran to get the key – it worked! – let myself into the house, then propped the door open. I picked my way across the lawn and back into the street.

“Alan, it worked! I’m in!” He laughed, and I asked, “Can I hug you?” He opened his arms and we did.

“Alan, is there anything I can get you? All I have in there is water…and some beer that my hosts left me.” unlocking a door

“Naw man, I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“I can’t have beer now. I’d have one at three when I finish, but I gotta work.”

“Well, thanks again. You’ve done your good deed for the day! You’re my TOTAL hero, Alan!”

“No worries!”


Two hours later, just before my next meeting started, I ran out with a plastic bag and a piece of paper.

Alan was sitting up in a truck that was parked outside the house they were working on. He looked surprised to see me. “Hey!”

“Alan – I brought you some things to say thank you. They just had some hippy beers in the house, so I brought you those, and this is some really nice chocolate – it’s got sea salt in it.” I handed him the bag I’d carried it all in.

“Aw, you didn’t have to do that!”

“I know,” I said, “I wanted to, though. Also, because your rescued me, I made you this – it’s you, as a superhero. Because you are one.”

And I handed him a tiny card I’d made him, out a folded over piece of paper, with this on the front, and a THANK YOU message inside:

superhero cartoon (I turned his towel into his cape)

He looked SO pleased.

“Aw, thanks!”

“Alan, thank YOU for rescuing me! I had a meeting just after I got locked out! I was in my bare feet! I would have been so sad, but you totally rescued me!”

I gave his arm a squeeze, as he looked at the card, kind of bewildered and smiling.

“I’ve got to go to my next meeting,” I told him. “Thanks again! Take care!”

I ran back into the house, opened my computer, and clicked onto Skype.


Five minutes later, I heard a heavy knocking. I looked at my friends on the screen with my face screwed up. “Um, someone’s at the door of my Airbnb… I better go get it. I’ll mute myself.”

I got up, walked across the room then carefully opened it. There was Alan. He looked shyly at me.
“I just wanted to tell you,” he said, “I really appreciated that.”

“Aw, you’re so welcome!”
“That was – thank you so much, I appreciate it.”
“Thank YOU so much for rescuing me. Ok, take care!”

I closed the door and went, grinning, back to my call.

If someone rescues you – you don’t have to make a card, you don’t have to give them beer or chocolate. But – please – let them know how much they helped you. It’ll make them feel like a superhero.

“If someone rescues you, let them know how much they helped”

Another note, because of the timing of this blog: if you think it’s not ok that innocent people are being killed by police, but if you’re white and feel like it’s not your place to say or do anything, please take a look at this page: yesyesmarsha.com/blm. No peace without justice, and no justice without ALL of us doing something. Thank you!

Thanks so much for reading.

I always love hearing what you think in the comments, it would be lovely if you could leave one below.

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You rule,

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha



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Photo Credits: Richard Elzey and Alan Cleaver, both via Compfight cc, then ME! (marsha)


  • Kristi Shumway

    Reply Reply September 21, 2016

    Dah, I love this story. I feel compelled to do these types of things, but I sometimes stop myself, because I feel like it wouldn’t be received well. I picture them rolling their eyes and thinking it was too much. But Alan actually came back to thank you, how sweet! You gave me courage to do some extra thanking next time someone becomes my hero. :)

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Reply Reply September 21, 2016

      I used to be exactly the same way. But then I decided, sod it [British for “forgedaboudit”] – *I would like it if someone did something like this. And it turns out 99.9% of people are SO touched!
      So I do hope you go for it with the extra thanking – feel free to come and report back!
      Thanks so much for the lovely words,

  • Jessica Barrett Halcom

    Reply Reply September 21, 2016

    Marsha – I love this story so much. I would have hugged him, too. I’m a hugger, and I love huggers. I love that you’re a hugger. You know that what you did made his day! It’s such a nice feeling to be appreciated, but to also let people know you appreciate them. A small, kind gesture goes a long way.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Reply Reply September 21, 2016

      Hi Jessica!
      What is so funny about this is that, that night, a creepy older man tried to hug me, and I said, “Oh, I’m not a hugger. But I’ll shake your hand!” – which may be the biggest lie I’ve ever told :)
      Thanks so much for commenting!

  • Susan

    Reply Reply September 21, 2016

    At nearly 61, I realize how few and how brief the truly special encounters have been. Not many people step out of their comfort zones to do what you did. Your superhero will not forget it – ever.

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