Who knew that a chance meeting and fast friendship could spur the formation of a multi-billion corporation, and who knew that LTHS English teacher Joseph Maffey was the catalyst?
Several summers ago, Maffey embarked on a 77-day summer vacation, travelling 16,000 miles by car to visit each of the 48 contiguous states. While in Rhode Island, Maffey stopped at a sidewalk sale, where a student, who had just graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, was selling some of his artwork. The graduate and Maffey struck up a conversation about teaching and the cross country journey, and Maffey bought a piece of artwork. The artist asked Maffey where he was staying, and when Maffey responded he was heading up north to a campground, the student offered him a blow up mattress in his apartment. The two had pizza that evening and shared some breakfast the next morning. When the student artist befriended Maffey and opened up his home to him, little did either of them know that he – Joe Gebbia – would go on to found Airbnb, providing a platform where more than 6 million people in 191 countries open their homes to strangers.
Maffey continued on his journey, and city after city, he met strangers, many of whom offered him a couch, a spare room or blow up mattress. In total, 35 strangers befriended Maffey and out of pure friendship and generosity opened up their homes and hearts to him.