Ever missed the bus or hit the snooze button too many times? We ask some of our readers about the funniest, craziest and hilarious excuses for being late to work.
Join us in this hilarious article where we spill the beans that they or their coworkers have given when they turn up all late for work, or never at all!
Another similar article we wrote – What’s the craziest thing you have said to your boss?
Flora M – “So, if you fire me, know that shit is in your hands.”
I once worked with someone who was either bored, incompetent, or a masochist.
The supervisor in the finance department was losing their patience with why my co-worker was either late, or disappeared, over long stretches during the day. All the time.
OK so my supervisor, let’s call him Bob, loses it after Mr. Late-and-Disappearance waltzes into our room ( 6 people, 6 desks, in one big room crunching/analyzing numbers) after being gone for 2 hours.
Bob starts by asking nicely why the consistent lateness and disappearance, Mr. Late shrugs. Bob escalates his questions.
Mr. Late starts shuffling his feet – you know – uncomfortable. The questions and accusations increase.
Finally, Mr. Late says, and I will never forget this, “Look I have had diarrhea and constipation, on and off, for the last, maybe, 7 months. I sit on the can in pain. Nothing works. So, if you fire me, that know shit is in your hands.” Silence. We all go back to work.
Two days later, Mr. Late quits.
He didn’t have stomach problems – he was job searching and training for a triathlon during the work day.
One of the weirdest excuses to being late for work by bringing up a bowel issue!
Tommy – “He photocopied 4 sets of eulogies of…”
A few years back, when I was in high school, I worked at a local, family-owned (emphasis on that part, it was a study in how to ruin a business via nepotism) store.
One of my fellow high-school student coworkers went totally AWOL for several days. When he came back to work, his excuse was that his grandmother had died.
Management heckled him, because it was his third time using the excuse in a year or so. He just kinda quietly took it, because he was terrified of making waves.
Three months later he called into work and said he couldn’t make it because guess what, his grandmother had died. Again.
He also needed a weekend off for the funeral. Here is where it gets interesting. Manager basically told him to not bother coming back.
He then put his father on the line. As the conversation went on, the manager, who was the same age as us, got paler and paler, and they were able to get fewer and fewer syllables in edgewise.
They set the phone down, and didn’t say much about it. When this coworker came in the next time, their step-dad brought them in, and named the manager, asked to speak with them somewhere private.
The manager was the sort of person who got a little bit of power and it went to their head. So naturally, they said that “anything they had to say they could say there at the front counter”. Step-dad lit. Into. Manager.
The basic, unembellished, cleaned up, not former-Marine gist of it was this kid had a step mom and a step dad who he was close with, and so was close with 4 different grandma’s.
This poor soul had gotten close with 4 sets of grandparents, and lost half of them in about a year.
When the step-dad was done, he told our manager he would be quitting and taking a job offer from our competition in two weeks time.
Then he handed the manager 4 sets of photocopied eulogies.
Reading this while you’re late for work? Do One of These 4 Things (article by Inc)
Dora – “I came home and forgot I was working today.”
She was a coworker, not an employee, so I hope this still counts.
A fresh hire, and trouble from the start.
Told the supervisor that she had to have Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays off for church, needed Tuesdays off for classes at the Y, needed at least one evening off to spend with her husband, and so on.
She was the kind of person you knew wasn’t going to last long, especially in a hospital setting. You just don’t get to name your terms like that.
But for whatever reason, she got hired.
Anyway, one day, she went home for lunch.
We didn’t get a long lunch, it was usually right on a half hour and not worth going off-campus.
But she drove home to her apartment across town, and we didn’t hear from her for a couple more hours. Finally, she called and said, “I came home and forgot I was working today. Can I just stay? Do I have to come back in?”
The supervisor said that no, she did not have to come back in. (Ever.)
Mariene – “I had a birthday party to attend…”
At work, we are entitled to use the “locator slip”, with this an employee can go out during office hours for a maximum of two hours provided there’s a valid reason.
One day I was invited to a birthday party, we can have an hour lunch break,but I think that’s not enough and I know I’ll be late. So I applied for a locator slip.
I need to fill up the reason in the request form, and I don’t wanna lie.
My reason: to attend the 3rd birthday of my best friend’s labrador.
Boss: (gave me that “you’re-definitely-one-weird-girl-with-weird-friends look”)
“Just be back by 1:30pm.”
Hoooooray! My request was granted. I attended this cutie’s birthday.
Joseph – “I owe my lateness to my coworker who also happens to be my roommate.”
I have 3 more guys living with me and we all have a routine which we all follow regularly. I am the last person to leave the house and my coworker leaves before me.
One day I was ready to go the office and was stepping outside the door when I noticed someone has closed the door from outside.
We have a latch system with an interlock, so someone slid the latch too while locking the door which locked me inside.
I called my coworker if he was the one who locked me in the house and he said yes, he forgot that I was inside.
He was so calm telling me this, I said come home and fucking let me out. He says that he can’t as he has work, I was like what the fuck, it is not like I fry potatoes at work, I too have a lot of work to do.
Then he suggests to shout and if someone on the street listens to me, they will let me out. WOW!! Now I have to shout out to strangers to let me out from my own house, great!
And so I shout, after some 5 minutes someone listened and let me out, the person who let me out was laughing like a mad man after listening to my story.
While all of this was going on my manager called me regarding some work and I told him the whole story. Now guess what, my roommate and I are in same project and work on the same floor, my manager went to him and asked him about all this, he was hiding his face when my manager was telling this story to 50 people working on my floor.
I arrived office and everybody was laughing mad on the whole situation while I was giving my roommate the stink eye.
Well the story does not end here
My roommate did the same thing the following week and I simply called my manager and said, “He locked me again”.
Do you remember the guy who let me out the last time, guess what luck has for me in it’s basket. The same guy let me out this time too. He lived across the street.
This time he was like, rolling on the floor, laughing out loud and shitting his pants altogether.
My manager at the office went to my roommate and asked him to take medical help and also if he forgot any work to do or did something which was not supposed to be done at work.
Again the whole flock was laughing out loud and I arrived late again for the same reason because of the same person as if I am living in the past.
For the next few months, he got teased for this habit by each and every person in my project.
Allen – “My llama gave birth last night.”
This from an IT manager responsible for 36 programmers and QA staff at a billion-dollar company. She raised llamas in her spare time, so it was probablythe truth.
Even funnier, she didn’t seem to think it was an unusual excuse! Sick kids and funerals can’t be avoided, but she mentioned it as if HR gave everyone three “live llama birth” days a year.
Llama birth became the default explanation for employee absences and an excuse to get out of social engagements:
“You didn’t hear? His llama gave birth last night.”
Rachel – “I loved heavy metal music so much”
When I was younger and a little more reckless I woke up with a very sore head and knew I wouldn’t be able to make it in that day.
I have also always believed in being honest which meant composing this text message to my boss was a joy.
A little background whilst this happened in London, my company was on a large industrial estate; the gentlemen I met were very lost indeed.
They also had no bus or taxi money between them.
My text: Hi [Boss], I was waiting at bus stop to go home yesterday evening when I bumped into a lost Lithuanian heavy metal band with a crate of cider. After walking for several hours to help them find their destination I was rather more drunk than I expected. Very sorry, I won’t be able to make it in today.
His reply: Okay.
Parker – “I had to wait for the police to come.”
This wasn’t one of my coworkers; it was the guy I replaced because he was locked up in a mental institution (really).
He was late for work one day and his boss (who became mine) asked why.
“Someone took my donuts”.
“I was standing on the subway platform and someone took my bag of donuts”
“And …. were you hurt?”
“No, but I had to wait for the police to come”.
Margaret – “When the eulogy doesn’t work”
I’ve had my fair share of colleagues calling in with tall tales, but this one takes the biscuit. Quite possibly, the whole jar.
My aunt owns a limestone quarry.
One of her lorry drivers tasked with ferrying quarried limestone to the marble factory called in to say that his wife had passed away the night before, and asked for a few day’s worth of compassionate leave.
My aunt told him to take as much time as he needed. After hanging up the phone, she decided to drive over and offer her condolences in person.
The wife answered the door.
Glenn – “One of the craziest excuses for being late to work I received”
I once called my boss to tell him that I might be late for our regular Tuesday morning meeting because a plane had just hit the building where I changed trains and I was going to take the other PATH train across town.
I left this message immediately after the first plane hit the WTC, when we still had no idea what was going on or the scope of the situation.
(A small plane had once hit the Empire State Building in the 1940s, and in the very earliest reports, this had sounded like a similar incident: best avoided, but not the end of the world.)
So in the moment, it sounded like a crazy excuse indeed, though an easily verifiable one.
I did, in fact, get to my Jersey City office a little late, but my boss wasn’t angry at all. He was relieved to see me.
Cruz -“The thing about bunnies…”
“I am untangling a bunny from a net.”
We have a batting cage in our yard, so that my children can practice hitting without breaking windows or losing the balls.
Last week, I was pulling out of the driveway to take the boys to school and go to work when I saw something in the net. I stopped the car and realized it was a small rabbit. Its eyes were wide open, and it was completely wrapped to its neck.
I was afraid it was dead, but I was more afraid that it might be just barely alive, and if I left for school, it would be dead when I returned. I couldn’t take that chance.
I went over to the bunny, and it was still alive, but it couldn’t move any part of its body. It was completely entangled.
Its head was stuck through one of the holes in the net, and its legs were wrapped and tangled to the toes. I knew it would be difficult to free it, but I had to try.
After about fifteen minutes, I called my boss to explain my situation, and I was told it was okay.
It took me at least another ten minutes to finish, but I managed to get the bunny completely unwrapped, yet still held in place so it couldn’t become entangled again. I worked the bottom of the bunny out of the net as I released the rest, and it ran off.
That evening, my husband secured the net better so that there wouldn’t be any more loose net on the ground to catch unsuspecting rabbits.
I didn’t catch any grief at work for it, and that is probably because I am generally on time.
Conclusion: Time to find a new job?
If these excuses didn’t work or if you’ve used too many of these excuses, it might be time to find a new job – How to Ace Job Interviews like a Pro