Mar 31 Convo: Hospitality as a Service

A Story of Unexpected Belonging


In coworking, we talk a lot about the importance of belonging. There’s something deeply human and comforting about finding a place where we can be who we are.

Coworking is beautifully positioned to provide that.

And apparently pet sitting is too.

An elder named Robert, who lives alone and spends his days “just sitting around and wondering what I have done for this world” found a sense of purpose and connection when his neighbors asked him to look after their pets, Smokey, Oreo and Jennifer.

The experience turned out to be life changing. So he wrote his neighbors the following note:

Good afternoon,

This letter is regarding your vacation two weeks ago, and how you let me babysit Smokey, Oreo, and Jennifer. I’d just like to give you a letter of thanks.

As you know, I’m an old man. You don’t see me outside often anymore, as these joints aren’t as lively as they used to be. To add to that, two years ago, in the midst of the pandemic, my dad got diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. After his death, I was left alone in my home. I don’t have a wife or kids. I could go to sleep one day and never wake up again. Every day is spent just sitting around and wondering what I have done for this world.

Until I met Smokey, Oreo and Jennifer.

Your pets are the cutest, funniest and most troublesome (In a good way, don’t worry, they didn’t mess up the house too much!) individuals. They gave me the motivation to restart my life again. I started waking up early in the mornings. I began to take walks outside with your pets for the first time in years. Every 10 minutes, whenever I felt sad for a second, they would bark or rub against my leg and make me laugh.

The highlight of their stay was when I took them to the park. It was the longest time I’ve spent outside in a while. It didn’t just bring back pet interaction, I also met other people, started talking, and made friends with a handful of fellow human beings. I was so happy to finally be able to talk with friends again, interact with others, and feel like I’m part of the human race.

I realize I sound very existential right now, but I’m telling the truth. It’s nice knowing that I’m doing something for someone, even if it’s my neighbor.

I adopted two pet dogs soon after. (You may have been hearing noise from my home, pardon them.) I now take regular walks to the park with them and talk with friends I made there. Anyways, I’d just like to say: thank you so much. You brought back meaning to my life. And that’s all that matters,



Who are we without connection?

Who are we without purpose and service?

Who are we without belonging?

All these things bring meaning to our lives and, as Robert wrote, that’s all that matters.


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