When celebrated Argentinian writer, Hernán Casciari, rented an Airbnb in Montevideo, Uruguay, he had no idea that his visit would have such an impact on thousands of lives.
Hernán was in Montevideo on vacation, but one day as he rested in his rented villa, he felt the unmistakable symptoms of a heart attack. Panicked, Hernán called the only people he knew in the strange city, the hosts who owned the villa. Those people are Javier and Alejandra Artigas, who rushed to Hernán’s side and did what they could to save the man’s life.
Alejandra worked for the Uruguayan parliament, so she used her clout with the government to arrange for a police escort to rush Hernán to the hospital. With lights and sirens flashing, the couple rode with Hernán in the ambulance, reassuring him the whole way.
Proving themselves to be the most generous hosts of all time, they both rolled up their sleeves and donated blood, just in case Hernán needed a transfusion.
After Hernán recovered and was released from the hospital, he went home to Argentina and left Javier and Alejandro the world’s most unusual, yet grateful, 5-star review ever typed out on the Airbnb app:
Excellent house for sedentary travelers prone to myocardial infarctions. The area is beautiful and has direct access to the best hospitals.
Javier and Alejandra instantly become guardian angels who will save your life without even knowing you. They will rush you to the hospital in their own car while you’re dying and stay in the waiting room while doctors give you a bypass. They don’t want you to feel lonely, they bring you books to read and they let you stay in their house extra nights without charging you. Highly recommend.
The Airbnb review made the rounds in the California company’s headquarters before finally landing at the desk of co-founder Joe Gebbia. Joe was so taken by the generosity of these Airbnb hosts that he decided to pay them a visit, flying to Montevideo to meet with Javier.
During their meeting, Joe offered to pay for Hernán’s hospital bills, and then the two men discussed something near and dear to Javier’s own heart.
Javier, who suffered from kidney disease, was forced to undergo dialysis appointments every week just to stay alive. After a grueling trip to Argentina where he was unable to find dialysis treatments and nearly died, Javier had nurtured an idea to create an app that would connect travelers with the medical care they need with just a few clicks of a button.
After he and his wife had spent a stressful few days helping Hernán with his medical emergency, Javier was more determined than ever to get his app, which he called Connectus, off the ground. Now, here was the CEO of an enormous internet company sitting beside him, offering funding for the app — it seemed like it was meant to be!
Joe and Javier decided right then and there to collaborate on the app, now called ConnectusMedical, and the app has since grown to serve over 250,000 people!
None of this would have ever happened if it hadn’t been for the act of incredible friendship extended by two strangers to a foreign tourist. Thanks to the incredible kindness and generosity of Alejandra and Javier, this app is now available to anyone who requires specific medical care as they travel around the world.
Imagine how freeing it must be to know that you can go anywhere and still find the care you need!
It seems that everything does happen for a reason, even a life-threatening medical event. Share this story to spread awareness to those who really need it!