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A family that fled Hurricane Matthew found a couple on Airbnb who took them in for free.

With Hurricane Matthew bearing down on their home in Hollywood, Florida, Elizabeth and Chris Rodriguez packed their belongings and their 12-year-old daughter Kurisma in a car and fled west.

Hurricane Matthew hits Titusville, Florida. Photo by Bruce Weaver/AFP/Getty Images.

24 hours later, they were sitting at a neatly appointed breakfast table, enjoying orange juice, coffee, and a basket of croissants.


"We started looking for a place to go, and we found Bob and Juan," Elizabeth said.

The Rodriguez family currently occupies two bedrooms in the home of Juan Maldonado and Bob Leibensperger, a married couple in Kissimmee, who registered for an Airbnb's Disaster Response Tool, which allows hosts to offer their rooms, free of charge, to people displaced by natural or manmade disasters.

With no hotels available, the tool was a godsend for the East Coast family, who raced to send a request when they saw Maldonado and Leibensperger's posting, fearing they would be late.

"It was relief, being that we had no options other than a shelter. It eased our minds because we knew were going central, away from the coasts," Elizabeth said.

Airbnb launched the tool in 2013, inspired by the generosity of its hosts — many of whom tried, unsuccessfully, to open their homes through the room-sharing service during Superstorm Sandy.

"Our system wasn’t set up to support free emergency housing, so we worked to make the necessary changes to help our community support people in need," company founder Nathan Blecharczyk said in a press release.

Tampa Airbnb host Danielle Ferrari, who took in a couple from South Florida, said she didn't really think about "why" before signing up to assist.

Danielle Ferrari's home in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Danielle Ferrari.

"I'm used to opening my doors to strangers, why not a stranger in need," she wrote. "Aren't they the best guest you could have? And the most rewarding."

In June, Maldonado and Leibensperger hosted two sets of families who traveled to Orlando to attend funerals for the victims of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub.

"It was uplifting being able to be there with them and give them a few words of support and give them kind of a safe haven," Maldonado said.

That experience, he explained, influenced the couple's decision to register for the program.

With the storm traveling north, the Rodriguezes hope to be able to head home soon.

The Rodriguez family with Maldonado and Leibensperger at breakfast. Photo by Juan Maldonado.

"We're all grateful and kind of celebrating now that things didn't get as bad as TV made it to look," Maldonado said.

The Rodriguez family's current landlord, also an Airbnb host, plans to return today to assess the damage. In the meantime, they're enjoying their temporary accommodations and spending time with Maldonado and Leibensperger's two chihuahuas.

Maldonado said that, for him, the storm is an opportunity to be "grateful for the things you have."

"The fact that you get to meet great people that you would never have met if it wasn't for the terrible circumstances is the good side of any tragedy, I guess."

If you're stranded by the storm and need shelter, visit Airbnb's Disaster Response Tool here.

Family

Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.

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All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

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Photo by Bambi Corro on Unsplash

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For University of British Columbia student Tim Chen, that "easy commute" is more than 400 miles each way.

Twice a week, Chen hops on a flight from his home city of Calgary, flies a little more than an hour to Vancouver to attend his classes, then flies back home the same night. And though it's hard to believe, this routine actually saves him approximately $1,000 a month.

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Tony Trapani discovers a letter his wife hid from him since 1959.

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After his wife passed away when Tony was 81 years old, he undertook the heartbreaking task of sorting out all of her belongings. That’s when he stumbled upon a carefully concealed letter in a filing cabinet hidden for over half a century.

The letter was addressed to Tony and dated March 1959, but this was the first time he had seen it. His wife must have opened it, read it and hid it from him. The letter came from Shirley Childress, a woman Tony had once been close with before his marriage. She reached out, reminiscing about their past and revealing a secret that would change Tony's world forever.

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Internet

Man goes out of his way to leave tip for a server after realizing he grabbed the wrong receipt

Instead of just brushing it off and moving on, the man wrote out a note explaining what happened with a sincere apology along with a $20 cash tip and delivered it to the restaurant.

Man goes out of his way to leave forgotten tip for server

Being in the service industry can be hard. People have to spend long hours on their feet, deal with repetitive movements that can create pain and sometimes interact with not so nice customers. When you rely on tips for survival on top of everything else, it can feel like a bit of a gut punch when someone decides not to leave you one despite how good your service was.

One customer must've realized the disappointment that can occur after not receiving a tip when serving tables because he went out of his way to give one. In a post shared on Reddit, a customer revealed in a letter that he realized he took the wrong receipt after leaving. Instead of taking the blank one, he took the merchant's copy which holds the tip amount and his signature.

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Science

Scientists have finally figured out how whales are able to 'sing' underwater

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We've long known that baleen whales sing underwater and that males sing in tropical waters to attract females for mating. What we haven't known is how they're able to do it.

When humans make sound underwater, we expel air over through our vocal chords and the air we release rises to the surface as bubbles. But baleen whales don't have vocal chords, and they don't create bubbles when they vocalize. Toothed whales, such as sperm whales, beaked whales, dolphins and porpoises, have an organ in their nasal passages that allows them to vocalize, but baleen whales such as humpback, gray and blue whales don't.

Whales are notoriously difficult to study because of their size and the environment they require, which is why the mechanism behind whale song has remained a mystery for so long. It's not like scientists can just pluck a whale out of the ocean and stick it in an x-ray machine while it's singing to see what's happening inside its body to create the sound. Scientists had theories, but no one really knew how baleen whales sing.

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There are countless situations in life where we have to figure out how someone really feels, but they have a good poker face that keeps their feelings well-hidden. According to body language expert Terry Vaughan even the most deceptive people in the world have a tell: the left and right sides of their face don’t usually match.

So, which side do we believe? Vaughan says the left.

“The reason this is a powerful hack is because the left side of the face is more likely to reveal the ‘true emotion’ or the ‘dominant’ emotion if there’s a mix,” Vaughan says. The reason? “The right hemisphere of our brain does more heavy lifting in dealing with processing emotions. The left hemisphere…is a little more analytical or ‘strategic.’”

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