I wrote a blog on Amish Fiction Authors about the Tomato Patch series and how the main character, Priscilla Smucker, has to keep faith in God when dealing with the mean-spirited Susie Byler who wants nothing more than to ruin Priscilla’s life.
Recently, I had a situation at our farm in Florida. A man (who I will not dignify to name) rented our AirBnb house for his small family. They were moving into the area and he loved animals. His wife worked at the hospital and he took care of their two daughters. He was a former military man and I was quite excited to tell him about our new veterans programs. I should’ve suspected something was amiss when he barely acknowledged our program. Most veterans are really excited to hear about it and want to get involved.
Long story short, after seven weeks living in the house, in the middle of the night, they left. They found a more permanent house which was better suited for having two small children. Plus one of their dogs died from an autoimmune disorder so it was “tough memories” at our little inn.
He cancelled the second half of his stay but wanted six days refunded to the current stay. I refunded the first request but denied the second for two reasons:
1. He had received a heavily discounted rate for staying so long ($36/night vs. $85) so, by refunding him those six days, he SHOULD have paid much more and, therefore, owed me money. Plus I turned away business and couldn’t rent it again.
2. He took the keys with him and I have no way to get back into the house to check it out, see what condition it’s in or if he took anything else. I’m going to have to hire a locksmith. Great.
He was so angry about this that now he is trying to get ALL of his money back for the entire time he stayed. He even reacted by threatening me (“I’ll get my money back one way or another” type of threat) and started lying to AirBnb about our place. He said it was filthy because there were cobwebs and we didn’t remove his garbage. First of all, for long term rentals, we don’t provide cleaning service. And, in my book, a cobweb or two is not “filthy”. Second, for long term rentals, it’s the tenants responsibility to remove weekly garbage.
I was really upset about this situation. We had gotten along great. Every time we went over to feed or work the wild mustangs on that part of the property, he’d come out with his daughters, one of whom loved to say “Excuse me, I’m talking to you” twenty times in a row until I finally bent down to let her speak. He wanted to adopt one of the horses. The little girl loved playing with Stick Dog.
How can people live with themselves? There is something so insane about this world where people are constantly trying to screw other people. We did nothing wrong. The man wrote to me numerous times how much he loved the place. But because he wants $250 back (when he left, took the keys, and already had a HUGE discount for six days that I cannot re-rent), he is spreading lies about our place and ruining what could’ve been a nice friendship. In addition, he knows how hard we work and that we do everything to save these horses and, now, help our veterans.
What kind of person does this? What kind of person thinks that it’s okay to stab someone else in the back?
I’ve been having a really hard time with this. Of course, in the above situation, AirBnb is supporting me in the situation. But what bothers me is that this guy’s attitude is so pervasive today. We’ve had people use us over and over again at the farm. People we trusted who came in and then royalty hurt us: damaging property, misleading us, sabotaging our family, etc. I’m so tired of hurtful, selfish, mean people. It makes me continue wanting to retreat to my farm, padlock the gate, and just stick to my inner circle of increasingly few people that I can trust.
I feel as if I am being challenged, my faith tested. But, like Priscilla, I will continue to walk the straight line and pray that God sees fit to help me find compassion and, perhaps, understanding in dealing with these people.
The Tomato Patch is available in paperback and ebook format. You can learn more about the book, including purchase links, by clicking HERE.