By way of a New Year's PR boost, Airbnb has given out $10 each (or the equivalent in foreign currency) to 100,000 of its loyal users for use in "helping to rid the world of strangers, one stranger at a time." The money, they say, is to be used for "a unique act of kindness," and there's of course a hashtag people are supposed to use when posting photos to Twitter of their kindnesses. They're being compiled on this webpage.
So far, the random acts have included a box of French macarons for an EMT, a $10 tip for a "hard working valet" in New Jersey, and various gifts of coffee, pie, and kebabs.
In the video below, posted as one of the "most popular," Malcolm Freberg decided to give a 72-year-old woman a ride on his motorcycle wearing a motorcycle jacket he picked up for $10 at a thrift store. It's sweet.
Just to be cynical for a second, the campaign comes at the end of a critical year for the company, which faced some backlash but an ultimate legislative victory in San Francisco that legitimized their business here, but they still face some hurdles in repeating that feat in bigger cities like New York. The argument that Airbnb negatively impacts tenants in terms of evictions and gentrification remains a hot-button one, and safety concerns remain surrounding the letting of strangers into multi-unit buildings without the knowledge of neighbors. Thus pushing the idea of #OneLessStranger is sort of a means to an end, business-wise. But, cynically, I digress.
Here's the sweet video.