Whether coming in late or missing the day entirely, some employees get pretty creative in their explanation for their absence. Whether it's the crazy truth or an elaborate lie, workers and bosses alike share some of the most insane reasons they've ever heard for why someone was late or couldn't come into work.
"Back in the early '80s, my boss hired a young man who came highly recommended by an employee who had just retired. It turns out that while the former employee was very good at his job, he was worthless at evaluation of character. Work started at 8 A.M., but this new employee (30-ish, married) did not show up until (approx) 8:45 A.M. from day-one. On the fourth/fifth day, the boss was waiting at the time clock, and asked the employee if he understood the required hours. With a straight face, the employee said he understood, but, 'They moved the Flintstones to 8 o'clock, and so I can't leave the house until 8:30.' Never saw him again. I could understand the Jetsons, but the Flintstones?!?" (Source).
"Years ago, a coworker didn't come in for his shift. My boss called his house. 'What are you doing that's so important that you can't come in to work?' 'I'm drinking beer and playing horseshoes.' 'Ok, just be sure to come in tomorrow.' God I miss rural Oklahoma" (Source).
"Back in the late 80's, we had a coworker whose excuses were the stuff of legend. Some of his greatest hits were: 1) He had opened his bedroom window for some fresh air and set his alarm clock on the sill. A thunderstorm came through during the night and blew rain through the window, shorting out the alarm clock. 2) He had a buddy who lived way out in the country and was on the waiting list for some kind of eye transplant or something. The medivac helicopter sent to pick the guy up couldn't find his property in the dark, so they flew to our coworker's house and picked him up to show them the way because he was the only person who could recognize his buddy's property from the air at 2:00 AM (This was pre Google Earth). The medivac didn't have time to drop our coworker off at home on the way to the hospital, so he ended up stranded at the hospital while they rushed his buddy in for his transplant. 3) He was still living with his parents and his mother made fish for supper. He swallowed a bone and it got lodged somewhere in his digestive tract. This caused him to lapse into a coma after he went to bed that night and it took his parents three days to realize it and revive him... I want to say he lasted about six months. I don't remember if he officially quit or if he just stopped showing up. For all I know, he was kidnapped by Malacca Strait pirates, managed to escape and is still swimming across the Pacific to get back to Texas. He's got to be at work in the morning" (Source).
"Well... back in the pre-cellphone days, I had a co-worker who lived on the fifth floor of a walk-up inside city limits. She called two hours into the shift saying that a horse broke into her house and she was waiting for animal control to get the animal out of the house. You can imagine that our boss was incredulous. How incredulous? She wanted to see the police report, or there would be disciplinary action. My co-worker one-upped her; she showed up a couple hours later... with a police escort... and a horse trailer with the equine burglar! The polaroids showing the horse in the kitchen were a bonus, but the crowning moment of awesome was the bag of horse dung she brought our boss as a souvenir. Nobody knows how it happened, but it did. Some believe it to be an urban legend, but I was there... I smelled the horse" (Source).
"A slacker who worked for me told many crazy stories: His gums started bleeding while he was brushing his teeth and his dentist told him to rinse his mouth with salt water for 2 hours. He was staying at a girlfriend's house to pet sit her cat and the cat escaped out the door while he was getting the morning paper, the door shut and locked behind him and he was only wearing his underwear, the cat went up a tree and he had to wait for the maintenance office in the apartment complex to open to get a ladder to retrieve the cat. And the best whopper of all: He got held up at lunch. Yes, as in robbers and guns. What was so funny about this is that I was having lunch at the restaurant right next door to the bank that he said was held up at and I neither saw nor heard any police activity or commotion there. He said the FBI held the people there to get statements for over two hours. He presented me with an FBI agent's card as proof. I called the agent on the card and it turned out he was the brother in law of the story teller and this wasn't the first time he'd pulled this scam. I fired him on the spot" (Source).
"Long ago I worked in a disgusting factory where almost everyone had an ordinarily intolerable attendance record---the job was such a nightmare frequent mental health days were a necessity. Management understood & usually didn't bother asking for explanations. One of the younger workers had a typical record then amped it up by vanishing for 3 weeks---then returned like nothing happened. His extended absence evoked an inquiry from the foreman: 'wheredafukyabeen?' The kid calmly explained he was in jail for armed robbery, auto theft & a few lesser charges but was freed 'because they found out I didn't do it.' We laughed so hard it hurt. He was fired and applied for unemployment. The company fought the claim and for protocol had to check out his fairy-tale story. It turned out he was arrested for the things he mentioned and held without bail. After 3 weeks the district attorney decided not to prosecute the case and released him. Maybe he didn't do it" (Source).
"Well I have heard some doozies in my day. I have heard excuses from the downright graphic descriptions of bodily fluids to the just plain weird. One that sticks out more than most is, I'll call him John. Well John lived in a not so nice part of town and his house got broken into. He was on time that day, but he had to move because his fiancée did not feel safe there anymore. So they moved in with his father. All things seemed to be going well for a few days, but when he came home, he said something doesn't seem right. His uncle was there kind of snickering. He then walked throughout the house to find his fiancée and his father in bed together. When he busted them, his dad and uncle proceeded to beat him up and throw him out of the house. They then threw a brick through his windshield of his car. In all the commotion he had left his cell phone on the kitchen counter. When he attempted to retrieve it, they beat him up again and threw his phone on the ground breaking it. He was supposed to start at 7am and called me at noon to tell me this story. He said it took him a while to find someone to let him call me. Plus he was kind of embarrassed" (Source).
"We had an intern who couldn't come into the office because her kitten was going through puberty and was getting all angsty and couldn't be left alone. The next day, said intern showed up with scratches on her forearms that were apparently made by angsty kitten" (Source).
"Well, I had a crazy excuse. I lost my s--t on a turkey sandwich! A little background here: I have a son who is turning 9 months old tomorrow. I have a wife who stays home with him. She is over-protective. She is over-coddling him. She loves to bring him in to bed with us. If affects both of us when he isn't asleep in a timely manner. One morning was especially fun. We had been sleep deprived for at least 6 days. His choice: not go to sleep, go to sleep and wake up when we want to go to sleep, wake up when we are in our best sleep of the night. For me, this always makes me exhausted during my workday. This morning we had ~2.5 hours sleep (generous count!) and this was a lot for the past 6+ days. So, after waking up and moving downstairs I told my wife that I was one night's sleeplessness from losing my s--t. It happened sooner than I thought. Rewind to Sunday when I got groceries: I ordered a pound of turkey, pointing to the large solid turkey intending it to be sliced. I got a pound of slivered s--t turkey. Now, fast-forward and I made my sandwich, and was trying to put it in the plastic sandwich bag so I could get ready for work. It wouldn't fit. Turkey was spewing EVERYWHERE! It was total pandemonium! I lost my s--t. That turkey sandwich ended up being punched, it went everywhere. My scavenging Golden Retriever couldn't even inhale it all. Turkey was in every imaginable place and then some. I had to clean it up. Hence my excuse -- I f--king lost my s--t on a turkey sandwich that wouldn't fit in the bag and spilled it's shredded turkey a-- everywhere" (Source).
"This actually happened to me. One morning I woke up, showered, ate breakfast, dressed and went to the door. The door would not open. I twisted the knob, pushed, pulled to no avail. My roommate, who was also a co-worker, then gave the door a try. No luck. Good thing my roommate was a co-worker. We called work -- our manager laughed fit to die when we told him why we weren't at work. Then, we called our landlord who contacted a locksmith. Hours, hours later, the locksmith finally came and sprung us out of our apartment. We both arrived to work at 2:00 p.m. to a round of applause from our manager and fellow workmates" (Source).
"I had a male coworker. Middle of the shift, he comes out of the bathroom, walks directly up to the boss, has a hushed, very short conversation. Coworker leaves immediately, and is absent the next day. Shows up for work on day 3, no medical note, no questions asked. I asked him what he said to the boss, who was a bit of a hardass, and also male. He said, 'Boss, my dick is bleeding.' Boss said, 'Do what you gotta do.' No questions asked" (Source).
"I had an 11am - 7pm shift at the place I worked then. I did some world ending partying the night before. Woke up groggy with a shag carpet for a tongue minutes to noon. There was no way I could not show up for work. Impossible. I had enough 'sick' leaves that month to warrant a red flag on my record. If I tried this again, I was going to get the axe. After guzzling down three almost frozen bottles of ice cold coca cola, I prepared to go to work. My brain was running a mile a minute thinking of what excuse to make and could come up with none that would adequately explain how one could show up late for a shift that starts an hour before noon. While going past a pharmacy, I stopped in and picked up some cotton wool, iodine, gauze and some bandages. I have a lot of first aid experience as my mother had been a nurse. I took the cotton wool and soaked it with iodine and then rolled the gauze around it giving the impression of a really swollen knee joint. The iodine seeping through the top of the gauze gave the impression of bleeding. I then used the bandage to immobilize my knee so I could not bend it. I was ready. Getting into work, I hobbled 'painfully' and painstakingly across the lobby grimacing with each movement, calmly went to my desk and sat down with some effort and started working like nothing was going on while everyone was staring at me in shock. After a little while, my Nazi of a supervisor comes over and asks what happened with (dare I say... concern?) in her voice. Told her I was involved in a biking accident that morning. She was shocked and quite impressed that I still came in to work in spite of my accident, commended me for my 'bravery' + work ethic and told me to take the week off to recuperate and recover. I told her no and insisted that I do not need a break and I would like to work. I was afraid that her telling me to go will be the catalyst that would get me the axe. She insisted that I MUST go home, as she also does not want clients to think they are slave drivers. Reluctantly, I picked up my bag and as I stood up to leave; the entire office stood up and clapped for me as I hobbled out while being assisted. Well, who knew this day will turn out like this? Later that night, I was dancing at the club with my mates and I saw one of our managers from another department. He was staring at me in wide eyed shock. I calmly looked at him and returned back to my gyrating, with even more vigor this time already believing I am in trouble, might as well have fun before I get it. Returning to work after my one week 'holiday,' nervous that the manager had told. Well, he had not (good man) and I was hailed as a hero who was awarded the Employee Of The Month with a framed picture on the wall" (Source).
"Somehow, there's always that one guy who has many dead relatives. Without fail, he would use such excuses to get compassionate leave to attend funerals. His particular favourite was his grandma. I lost count after his third one... my fellow co-workers and I always had a good chat about him, wondering what would happen if his grandma ever found out she was supposed to have died more three times already... But the best one I have heard comes from a friend who came by for a outing with me even though he said he had work. When asked how the boss let him go, he replied nonchalantly, 'I told him I fell asleep in the nightclub's toilet after having vomited and got locked in for hours before they opened again at night...' (He doesn't even drink or club!)" (Source).
"A guy rang in sick and said he couldn't come in because he had a collapsed lung. Next day he was in. We asked about that - he said 'It was only partially collapsed.' Another 1 day absence was due to a 'mild stress-related stroke.' As for his lateness excuse, one time he was late because 'someone stole his van and defecated in it.' Ultimately, unreliability counted against him" (Source).
"Managing retail stores with young part time employees means I heard a million. 1) I forgot tonight is Prom. 2) Mom says I have to go to Grandma's birthday dinner. 3) I threw up and flushed my retainer down the toilet. All time best - I can't come to work tonight because my snake is sick. To which I replied, 'And tell me, how do you know when a snake is sick?' Answer, 'He's a 6 foot corn python. I put him in the bathtub and he is wheezing.' Needless to say, he never came back to work" (Source).
"I once had a server that worked for me that was fast. Oh so fast. She took the most tables, waited on the most customers, cleaned the most things... you get the idea. One day she didn't show up for work. She came in the next day like nothing happened and said she was tired and slept the whole day. You get one pass, because your fast. About two weeks later she doesn't show up again. In fact she doesn't show up for three straight shifts and never answers calls or texts. We finally just write her off. Her sister shows up about a week later to pick up all the money she's owed... Apparently this girl told her sister we owed her hundreds of dollars and her sister could have it as payment on some debt. She waits tables so the majority of her income was tips and it in cash. So no. Her sister said she should have figured as much. Apparently this was the second time her sister sold to meth to a cop, and this one wasn't even undercover" (Source).
"Many years ago I was working as a waitress. It was late in the evening and I was hoping that no other customers would show up so that I could go home. However, three men came in and I had to be their waitress. They were very nice and friendly and one of them was Irish (I'm Scottish) so there was a lot of banter between us. Towards the end of the meal the Irish fellow asked would I like to go for an airplane ride the next day and I replied 'as long as you don't run out of gas.' Certainly, I did not think that he was serious. He explained that they were from air-sea rescue and were based in town while searching for a downed plane. I wasn't too sure whether to believe him or not, but I gave him my telephone number and told him to call me in the morning if he was serious. At 6:00 a.m. my phone rang and it was the Irish man (let's call him Dave). So I went along on the plane as a volunteer 'spotter.' My job was to train my eyes on the terrain through a convex window wearing headphones so that I could tell the captain (Dave) if I saw any wreckage. After fifteen minutes another volunteer would come and tap me on the shoulder to give me a break. At lunch, I asked Dave when we were returning as I had to work at the restaurant at 4:00 p.m. He looked bewildered and said 'we don't go home until it is dark.' Oops! Now, would my boss believe me when I tell him that I am on an air rescue mission and can't make it into work? Well, he was skeptical, but gave me the benefit of the doubt. It was a great experience and I am glad that I took Captain Dave up on his offer" (Source).
"When I worked as the staffing manager for the Big Fancy Catering Company, I collected excuses for lateness as well as absences. 1) I violated my husband's restraining order so I'm in jail. 2) My fiancée broke up with me so I have to drive to Sacramento to get the ring back. 3) I forgot today's my birthday. 4) Another catering company needs me more than you do. 5) I got busted for drugs, so I'm in jail. 6) I got busted for drunk driving, so I'm in jail. 7) I couldn't find a parking place downtown, so I went home. 8) I'm at the hospital getting stitches in my head after a bar brawl. 9) I broke up with my boyfriend the bartender and I can't be in the same room with him. 10) I broke up with my girlfriend the server and I can't stand to be in the same room with her. 11) I just found out I'm pregnant. 12) And finally, the food poisoning excuse, code worldwide for a toxic hangover" (Source).