Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Are you tired of the shutdown yet?

The one that may or may not be owned by President Trump but, to many eyes, seems largely about one side owning the other, as they say in modern Twitter parlance.

For a couple of weeks now, the effects on the lives of ordinary people have been chronicled.

Some worry about putting food on the table. Some worry they might lose their homes.

In the skies above America, many worry that safety and security are being jeopardized.

The Air Traffic Controllers are suing the president. Delta and United pilots are pointing the finger at the president and demanding that he immediately end the standoff.

Delta's management, however, has been largely quiet, other than to mention the shutdown has already cost the airline $25 million.

But now Delta has done something that, in many ways, is but a small gesture, but also a poignant one.

Monday sees Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And it struck the airline that one of the shutdown's consequences was that the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park--in the airline's home base of Atlanta--was closed.

So it made a simple announcement that it would offer funds for it to open until Super Bowl Sunday--Atlanta is this year's host city.

In a LinkedIn message, the airline's CEO, Ed Bastian, offered: 

'The time is always right to do what is right.' These powerful words spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. resonate stronger than ever as we celebrate his life and legacy this weekend. While his work in bringing people together can be felt worldwide, his influence is a constant presence in Delta's hometown of Atlanta. Upon learning that the #governmentshutdown meant Dr. King's birth home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Fire Station No. 6, and the visitor center would be closed during the national holiday, we knew we had to take action​.

Oh, I know this is fine PR.

That doesn't mean it's the wrong thing to do. Sometimes, the right gesture at the right time--even if it's from a corporation--can come across as at least vaguely sincere.

It's impossible not to imagine that this is Delta's small, subtle way to express its feelings about the shutdown.

Corporations are being forced to express themselves about many socio-political issues these days.

This is partly because employees--especially younger ones--expect them to.

Delta, for example, took another small step last year by ending discounts for NRA members.

Perhaps, by the time you read this, the shutdown will already be over. Or perhaps not.

Delta's gesture, though, will still be remembered for quite some time.

Published on: Jan 20, 2019