American Airlines was facing financial issues back in the 80’s, so they came up with this brilliant idea to launch a frequent fliers program for a quick influx of cash. The program also offered an unlimited first-class lifetime travel pass to fliers. They called it the AAirpass.
It was a sweet deal, and wasn’t cheap by any means at all. Keep in mind, back in the 80’s $250,000 was a lot of money and back in 1987 to be exact, Steve Rothstein said sign me up for my unlimited ticket to go places! Steve thought paying for this ticket was well worth it. Steve not only purchased the $250,000 pass, he went ahead and paid for a companion pass to go along with it as well. Steve thought this extra $150,000 companion pass was worth it too.
Steve Rothstein is now known as the man who flew too much with his ticket to travel all around the world!! It’s an unbelievable opportunity that has taken him on hundreds of overseas trips. Steve’s ticket has also gotten him;
* 10,000: Number of flights
* 10 million: Miles traveled
* 40 million: Frequent-flier miles earned
* 500: Trips to England
* 70: Trips to Australia
* 120: Tokyo flights
* $21 million: Cost of the flights to American Airlines
* $250,000: What Rothstein paid for his AAirpass in 1987
* $3 million: Cost of an AAirpass in 2004, the last year it was offered.
Steve absolutely loved traveling with his unlimited ticket and would always book flights for himself, friends, family and even strangers in need. But one day it all came to an end. Steve went to take a trip this time and got his ticket snatched from him and was told he could no longer go anywhere!
The man who was so used to going places lost what gave him access to travel like he had become accustomed to. The airline accused him of fraud for allowing friends and family to fly on his pass. He was heartbroken and it’s said that he stayed in bed for days over the agony of losing his pass. Steve was so used to going places that losing his ticket made him feel like he had lost his identity! This whole situation left him utterly devastated, hurt and wounded.
This got me to thinking about how many people like Steve, get hurt when they can’t continue to do whatever they’ve become accustomed to doing. Steve, like many people got so used to the extraordinary favor and unbelievably amazing perks and opportunities attached to his ticket that when he lost it, he didn’t know how he was going to handle his new reality. I began thinking even deeper about how many of us like Steve have milked our “ticket” to the point where we’re about to lose our incredibly amazing benefits too! I wonder how many of us have blatantly worked “the system” (whatever the system is for us) and once we get a wake up call, we are devastated and shocked to see we have gone overboard and the party has literally come to an end. I thought how unreasonable and unrealistic many people can be when it comes to what they expect to get out of this flight called life we are all on. And how many of us want the unheard of and when we get it, like Steve, we go to amazing lengths to take advantage of the good will that’s been extended to us as if we think we deserve unlimited rides. We act as if we think we are entitled to things we know we haven’t even paid for; and we stay waving our ticket of privilege up to prove we have rights to keep being egotistical, narcissistic and obnoxious.
I’m sure the airline didn’t expect too many people to cough up $250,000 to travel as much as Steve traveled. But Steve had intentions to make this transaction more beneficial to him than it would be for the airline. Tragically, many of us are in relationships that look at us the same way Steve looked at his transaction with the airline. In relationships with people thinking about how they can milk you for everything? A lot of these transactional people only think of themselves and how they can take full advantage of you. Most of them only look at you as a stepping stone to get ahead and will drop you when they’ve got the goody out of you. Don’t ignore the red flags and the feeling they leave you with as if you just got scammed or hustled; because you did. And no, although they may not say it out of their mouths, but most people; family included want an unlimited amount of “whatever” they can get from you and that’s just the bottom line. There are only a rare breed of people who just want relationship with you and that’s all. Some people are only interested in the real you and only want your time and love. But the rest; they have mastered the art of caring enough to make you feel like their involvement in your life is sincere. Sadly, not many people genuinely want to give you anything without an expectation that it’s going to help them get to their dream destination.
My real life advice to you today is: watch out for transactional relationships! Watch out for people who do things for you to keep you bound to them. Make sure you only do for others what you can afford to do. This way you don’t lose anything in the end. Lastly, don’t make offers to people that are too good to be true. Most people are in relationships looking for something willing to offer up nothing; and it’s unfortunate that if you show an inkling of kindness and appear to be giving out unlimited tickets of love, support, encouragement and help; there are a lot of people that will make a small investment in you only for the purpose of getting a big outcome.
The truth is when people are as kind to you as they are, just like the airline was with Steve; they don’t necessarily expect you to drain them dry! (Insert Hello!) Sure they expect you to benefit from their generosity, but they also expect you to fly within reason. Don’t end up costing them substantially more than they can afford. Let’s be honest what some people want from you is far more than you’re willing to put out. And if it cost your peace and contentment it’s too much. But this seems to be the problem with being too kind to some people. The people you’re kind to will sometimes end up being like Steve, extremely unreasonable lacking a moral compass. Ultimately, this is why kind people have to set limits; because the people who they’re often kind to don’t have any limitations to what they will take.
Copyright ©️2019 Sherry Grant
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