AirBnB host surprises Jacksonville family finding refuge in New Albany

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Like millions of other Floridians, Xeryus and Letroi Miller decided it was time to go.

"When they said it was a Category 5, that's when we started panicking," Xeryus Miller, a military man who has lived in Jacksonville for the past eight years said.

The Millers heeded the warnings, getting their two children, their brother and their two dogs ready to leave town ahead of Hurricane Irma, but finding someplace to go was easier said than done.

"I started looking Monday and there was nothing left in Georgia," Letroi said. "Nothing. So then we started looking in Alabama, then Tennessee."

The Millers kept looking, their search taking them further and further north, unable to find anywhere available that would take in their large travel party until they found an Airbnb on Pearl Street in New Albany above the So IN 2 Dance studio.

"I've never heard of it before. Louisville, of course, but not New Albany," Xeryus said.

Getting to New Albany proved a separate task altogether, with traffic so bad the Millers had to spend the night at a family member's home in Tennessee.

"With the kids and the dogs coming all the way up here, I thought we weren't going to make it, I'm going to be honest with you, because we were driving overnight," Letroi said. "It was so bad."

For the Millers, despite the frustrations of being stuck in traffic and the worries about their home and friends still in Jacksonville, they continue to preach positivity.

"Stress kills. Negative thoughts create a negative reality in my opinion, so you've got to stay positive," Xeryus said. "You've got to deal with what comes with it and make the best of it."

After their arrival, their host and owner of So IN 2 Dance, Brandon Thompson, had a surprise for them - telling them that he was going to refund their reservation fee.

"For me, it's not that it's a disaster time. It's that I'm able to, and that's the big difference," he said. "I feel like, 'Hey, I can do it so I'm going to.'"

"Brandon has been awesome for our family, open arms," Xeryus said.

"If people were to compete for positivity, that would be great I think," Thompson said.

It may be a small gesture, but for one Jacksonville family and one New Albany man connected by chance, it was an opportunity to smile.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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