The Freedom to Solve Problems

We took a friend to the airport who, as a family member of an airline employee, was flying standby. We learned that this was also termed a “non-revenue” ticket, as the airline charges them next to nothing – they make no revenue from this type of ticket. The cost, of course, is that you’re flying standby.

Even though earlier checks had indicated at least 10 unfilled seats on the flight, when she checked in she was 21st in line for those 10 seats. Apparently it was a busy evening and many people (also apparently airline employees) were also attempting to take the same flight – and as it turned out any reasonable substitute flight as well.

She wasn’t going home that night, and the next day wasn’t looking all that great either.


I bought her a ticket.

Problem solved. Her “non-revenue” status was changed to “paying customer”, and thus instantly put her ahead of the 20 standby customers. She made her flight.

Now, naturally buying an airline ticket at the gate an hour and a half before the flight leaves is not the most economical approach to purchasing.

But that wasn’t the point.

I was able to solve a problem.

Having money, and knowing when to spend it wisely means that sometimes you can simply solve problems, and solve problems simply.

Be it trading money for time, money for exceptional inconvenience, or money for the welfare of a friend (whom I failed to mention was traveling with her 1 year old son), realizing that you can make some problems go away with the application of money is a pretty powerful realization.

Understanding when it’s reasonable to do so, and knowing when to pull the trigger and apply money is often a new way of thinking that’s quite easy to be uncomfortable with. It may not be what you’re used to.

I paid something like 8 times her standby price so she and her son could go
home. To her, a lot of money. To me, a very simple solution to a fairly stressful problem. Why wouldn’t I?

It’s not always an easy decision. Not only does the impact of the cost factor in – my case was minor, but naturally not all such opportunities are – but if you’re making a problem for someone else go away their feelings and any impact on your relationship also needs to be factored in. It’s never truly simple in those cases.

But it’s worth considering. Especially if this is a way of thinking that newfound wealth opens up to you.

It’s been said over and over again that life’s too short.

What problems can you solve?

For yourself?

For others?

I’m not saying “do it” – things aren’t quite that simple.

I am saying, consider it.

Life is too short to pass up opportunities to solve problems.

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