Standing By in Chicago

Apr 27, 2009

RAY: This was sent in by a fellow named Rob Kyff. He writes:

Last New Year's Eve a friend of mine was trying to fly from Chicago, Illinois to Hartford, Connecticut on short notice and found himself on the standby list. As the departure time began to draw near he decided to approach the ticket agent and plead his case.

So with the most pathetic and helpless look he could possibly muster, he enquired about his position on the list and what his chances were of getting on the flight. She told him he was number 15 on the list. Disappointed, his jaw dropped and his shoulders slumped noticeably.

Without waiting for him to ask, she volunteered the following information: 'Immediately above you on the list is a married couple, the Baggiagalupos. Ahead of them are two other couples, the Smiths and the Joneses. Ahead of those three couples is another couple and their teenaged daughter. And finally the first five spots on the list are occupied by an elderly couple with their three grandchildren.'

'Oh,' he moaned. 'Well, how many seats are actually available?'

'Let me see,' she said as she scanned the passenger list. 'Uh, looks like four seats.'

He walked away dejected and resigned to spending New Year's Eve sleeping on the floor of the airport. But when they closed the door of the plane, he had a seat.

How did that happen?
RAY: Here's the answer. The first five spots on the standby list were the grandparents and the three kids and they didn't want to separate their group.
So they refused the four seats.

TOM: Right.

RAY: Next on the list was the couple with one child. They take three of the seats, leaving one seat. The next six people on the list are all married couples who don't want to split up. You wouldn't want to fly without your wife.

TOM: No.

RAY: She might want to fly without you! So none of the married couples accepted the single seat. It was left for this guy who got on the plane even though he was number 15 on the list.

TOM: Brilliant!

RAY: Do we have a winner?

TOM: Yeah, the winner this week is Gary Ingersoll from Bloomington, Indiana. And for his answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Gary is going to get from us a $26 gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at

RAY: Congratulations Gary!

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