Sometimes people are late for absurd reasons, and they’re not just making it up! Reddit users were asked about the best late excuses they’ve heard, here’s some of the best answers.
1. Tropical snow day.
“We had a worker in our office in my first job decades ago who phoned in saying he could not come into work because his car had been buried in a snowstorm. This worker lived in a sub-tropical area and it was 30 degrees C outside. The boss was gearing up to fire him and was already starting to reallocate this worker’s tasks when the boss got another call from the worker asking the boss to look on the TV news. Sure enough, the reporter was at the scene where the worker’s car had been buried in a freak snowstorm. We all thought it was the craziest excuse you could use but I still remember the utter look of shocked disbelief on the boss’ face when he saw the news story on TV”
2. Tell him what it is, and he’ll solve it.
“As a supervisor/lead developer of other developers, I had to listen to the excuses of a few people who couldn’t come in because… ‘I have a leaf mold allergy and cannot leave (pun not intended) the house.’ I told him, ‘That’s too bad, but you grew up and have lived in this area (Maryland) all your life, and now it’s affecting you?’ ‘No, it’s been a problem all my life.’ ‘Do you take medication to treat it?’ ‘I’m against the idea.’ ‘That’s a shame, as I’m against the idea of you not coming in for a month.’ ‘I’ll be right in.’ Then there was, ‘I need to stay home to wait for a package,’ by a different employee. I had a good answer for this, ‘You can leave a thing called a release form, so that you don’t have to wait for it.’ I was pretty shocked when they then said, ‘Well, I’m thinking about taking a different job. But, I don’t know. Maybe I will come in.’ Gee, thanks. By and large, it was simple problem solving for some pretty lame excuses. If you don’t want to come in, just tell me, ‘I need a personal day,’ and it’s no problem. Tell me what the problem is, and I’m going to solve it.”
3. The human lightning rod.
I was a human lightning rod. Meaning, if a whack circumstance had potential to actualize, my lightning rod super powers would attract and organize all the ingredients and make the statistically improbable inevitable. So once a corporate recruiter from one of those companies with a reputation of grueling interviews that last several days flattered me enough to convince me to come in and start the in-person interview process with the hiring manager and one of the technical teams. Unfortunately, despite trying my best to make the 1 1/2 hour drive to Palo Alto on time, I was late when I arrived to the campus. Why was I late? Well, I had driven there directly after being discharged from my local emergency room earlier that morning. This is what happened. In the wee hours before dawn, I heard what sounded like our cat doing her crazy night time cat things but I couldn’t be sure. I lived in a remote mountain area at the time and I was worried someone didn’t close the sliding door all the way. Up there the raccoons are the size of small dogs. We had already experienced a raccoon-led home invasion a previous year when the door was not latched shut. The raccoons had pushed it open and ransacked the kitchen and dining room. We hadn’t woken up to their racket before everything not nailed down had been torn open, scattered and partially eaten. Including my dining room chair cushions. They pooped with reckless abandon on my dining room table. So, yeah, I got up to make sure that door was closed this particular night before my big interview, because I had the vision of cleaning up raccoon poop stuck in my head. I stepped into the dining room towards the direction of the sliding glass door, whereupon my left foot made unexpected contact with the furry body of a very startled raccoon that I assume was overly enthused and engrossed in the cat food bowl so shared my surprise when I stepped on him. So, being as it was, it bit my foot.
Story continues on the next page…
…Story continued from last page.
Being the genius that I’m not, I put on my interview garb and drove myself to the emergency room, figuring since it was already 5 am or so, I would just continue on to the interview when I was done. The hospital was 30 minutes or so from home. They gave me a shot in the arm with the first rabies vaccine and after cleaning the bite, injected some other medicine into the wound. With my foot was wrapped, I thought I felt pretty good, all things considered. So, never one to give up when that’s the only right thing to do, I showed up 15+ minutes late, limping into the reception area and greeted the recruiter who assured me it was fine that I was late. A little more than an hour into it, I had to stop and let the guy doing one of the technical interviews know that I wasn’t able to continue. the cold, clammy sweat on my face was evident and I guess not anything atypical to see during the interview. It happens sometimes when people are really anxious. But, I wasn’t anxious or nervous. So, I explained to the guy it wasn’t the questions he was asking that were making me feel sick, but that I had, incredibly enough, been bitten several hours prior by a raccoon and the vaccine I was given was probably the problem. He looked at me as if I had sprouted a few extra heads. Incredulous, and with his head tilted kind of sideways confidently declared that my story was the stupidest thing he’s heard anyone say to bail out of an interview. Pretty much his exact words. By that time, I felt like s–t. I just wanted to lie down and close my eyes. Dizzy, nauseous and not exactly having my ‘A’ game moment of the season, I didn’t argue his point, but, I did suggest that he would probably hear less stupid answers in his interview if he didn’t asked stupid questions. Not my proudest moment, but, I can’t say it wasn’t valid feedback. I left. No, I was not asked to interview again by that team’s hiring manager. I was, however, ultimately hired by a different engineering group. And, I only returned for the second shot instead of the usual series of four injections. I almost thought rabies would be more tolerable than the reaction I got from the vaccine.
4. The 4 Grandmothers.
“When I was in high school, I worked at a local, family-owned 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. So this coworker came in with their step-dad and he asked to speak to the manager somewhere private. The manager was the sort of person who got a little bit of power and it went to their head. So naturally, he said that ‘anything they had to say they could say there at the front counter.’ Step-dad lit into the manager. The 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”
5. Doesn’t your llama ever give birth?
“‘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 probably the 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: ‘Where’s Joe?’ ‘You didn’t hear? His llama gave birth last night’
6. Living proof.
“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.
7. The pooch’s party.
“At work, we are entitled to use a ‘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 know that won’t be enough time and thus I would be late, so I applied for a locator slip. I needed to fill in 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
8. The young and the reckless.
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’
9. The frenzied fit.
“Well, it wasn’t work, but one of my friends was due to join me in a seminar with mandatory attendance. Fifteen minutes before it started, I got a panicked call from her. ‘I’m going to be late! I might not make it!’ she exclaimed. I asked her why, since she lived a ten minute drive away. ‘These two squirrels are tied together by their tails on top of my car!’ I got to say, if I was a computer, you could have heard my system churning, trying to process. ‘Wait, what?’ I asked. ‘Hang on!’ and a few seconds later I got a picture message. Sure enough, two squirrels had their tails knotted together. I had no idea that could even happen outside a cartoon. I bust into laughter and told the professor, showing him the picture, and we had a huge guffaw over it. She never did make it—she wound up waiting for animal control for over an hour, all the while the squirrels scampered to and fro in a frenzied fit
10. 60 Degrees North
This is one I overheard a coworker telling the foreman about twenty years ago when I was slaving away hauling crates at the local brewery. Disclaimer: This is a true story. I know that there’s several racist jokes, but this is a story about how an African employee used those jokes to tap into his boss’ racism to his own advantage. This happened at 60 degrees North, and winter was coming, and the days had started to get really dark. My work mate was around 40, eloquent and educated with a degree in sociology, and quite fun to be around. He had only one problem, the fact that he was Somali with a degree from an African university, and thus not-so-employable in Europe. This is a sort of discrimination that immigrants to Europe often face, and they have to resort taking menial jobs well below their qualification level. Enter the foreman. This guy was in his late 50s and basically saw it as his responsibility to make sure that the work day was as little fun as possible for us temps, and repeatedly tried to forbid us to listen to the radio while working or even chatting. Whenever the foreman was not in his little office on the end of the factory floor he was sneaking around trying to catch a temp for minor infractions. He especially had it in for some of the Africans, which he probably saw as inherently lazy and unreliable, or some other racist stereotype. One day, my work mate came in two hours late. The shift started at 7 AM, but he didn’t get there before 9. Naturally, the foreman was furious and demanded an explanation. My work mate just calmly replied: ‘Boss, it was pitch dark outside this morning. Have you seen the colour of my skin? Nobody can see me in the dark.’ To which the foreman just replied: ‘And what?’ My work mate continued: ‘Neither could the bus driver. So he just drove past me. So did the next one. And the one after that. I had to wait until it got light enough to actually see me before the bus driver stopped. That’s why I didn’t get here before.’ To my great surprise the foreman grudgingly accepted his excuse. I realized that my work mate had played up to the racist notions that the foreman obviously had, and masterly used those against him.
story continues on the next page…
…Story continued from last page.
Naturally, my work mate had to see how long he could push it, so the next day (which was even darker) he didn’t appear before 9:15 with the same explanation. The foreman was unsure on how he should handle this, but accepted the explanation once more. But he obviously planned a countermeasure. The day after, my work mate didn’t show up until around 9:30, but this time the foreman was ready for him. ‘I know how to solve your problem. Just wear this when you’re waiting at the bus stop, and the bus driver is bound to see you’ he exclaimed while handing him a high-visibility reflector vest. My work mate, sensing he could not outmaneuver this one easily, appeared on time the next day, but couldn’t resist ridiculing the foreman one last time. That morning the foreman asked him ‘Did it work? You’re here on time.’ ‘Well boss, I didn’t wear the vest. But I found another way to make myself visible to the bus driver. I just show the inside of my hands and smile my white teeth when the bus approaches, and then I’m just as visible as when I wear the reflector vest.’ We were all laughing till our guts came out.
11. Bob loses it.
I once worked with someone who was either bored, incompetent or a masochist. The supervisor in the finance department was losing their patience why my co- worker who was either late, or disappeared over long stretches during the day. All the time.
OK, so my supervisor, lets 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 hrs. 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, know sh*t is on your hands. Silence. We all go back to work.
Two days later, Mr. Late quits. He didnt have stomach problems, he was job searching and training for a triathlon during the work day.