Keeping a plane at the gate may be the ultimate way to say, "We care." It requires that an employee ignore years of training and be willing to face real consequences on an upcoming performance review. The message is unmistakable: You're important to us.
As it turns out, United flight 667 was delayed leaving San Francisco. Drake was visibly distraught. You can't prepare for a moment like this, but now came the very real possibility that he wouldn't have chance to see his mother before she passed away.
At this point, the ideal option for Obama would be to abandon Matthew Bryza's flawed candidacy for ambassador to Azerbaijan and name another less controversial nominee who could be confirmed by the Senate.