Ghosts, bat attacks and (lack of) socks: The 20 most outrageous excuses for being late to work

Whether you work in a pulsing Metropolis or a podunk town, you likely encounter legitimate impediments to showing up to work on time with some regularity. Punctuality is a quality that’s hard to nurture in a society puppeteered by temperamental mammals, each with their own interests and objectives; not that comprehending any of this really factors into our loathsome opinion of tardiness.

Few employers root for the tortoise,  irrespective of his alibi. A lot of our awful excuses are due to a thing known as the optimism bias in the professional world. When evaluating how long it should take to accomplish a goal, like making it into work by 8:30 a.m, we have a tendency to omit previous attempts from the calculation.  It’s that delusional instinct that tells us we’ll make it across the bridge in 20 minutes even though it has taken at least 30 minutes every other time.

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So for the third time this week, you find yourself with 14 minutes to clear a half an hour commute. Your Aunt’s already had two imaginary aneurisms, and you don’t have enough time to buy a car that got stuck in traffic. No one’s gonna believe you had one of those non-existent two-hour colds, but they just might go for the old, my house is haunted, routine.

 “My house is haunted. Last night the ghost locked all of the doors then hid my car keys and cell phone.”


That is an actual excuse a Human Resources worker received from a panicking employee rushing against the clock. Recently JAZZHR surveyed a pool of professionals on the most outrageous justifications they’ve heard from an employee skipping work. Kelly Peters, who helmed the new study, reports, “We’ve all been there — you wake up late, it’s a beautiful day outside and, well, calling off work last minute can sound very tempting. Most of us cite a sudden illness or last-minute home emergency. Some of us, though, are a bit more…creative.”

The 20 outrageous and real excuses people have used for missing work

Haunted houses are just the tip of the iceberg, check out the full list below,

  1. “Employee forgot he was hired for the job.”
  2. “My house is haunted. Last night the ghost locked all of the doors then hid my car keys and cell phone.”
  3. “An employee arrived for work 3 hours later than the time they were scheduled to attend and their reason for missing 3 hours work was that they had had a heart attack just before they were about to come to work. When asked about the speedy recovery the employee says he “breathed through it” and was fine a few hours later.”
  4. “I got shot by my sister’s boyfriend.”
  5. “I had an employee call and say they could not come in because of the night before they wore skinny jeans and had a rash. Apparently, his pants were too tight.”
  6. “She was arrested for hiring a hit man to shoot her husband (True story).”
  7. “I can’t come in to work today because I died last night.”
  8. “The handyman electrocuted himself this morning at my house and I can’t come in because my dog witnessed this and is having an anxiety attack. (Note: no mention of whether the guy was ok. Just how disturbing it was for her dog).”
  9. “My psychic medium told me I would die in a “Final Destination” style pile up on the highway today. So, I took all back roads making me three hours late.”
  10. “I purchased a new car and I need to fly to Sweden to pick it up. (Home is in Louisiana.)”
  11. “Steering wheel came off in their hand while driving to work”
  12. “They broke their leg and that the Wyoming mafia was coming after them.”
  13. “My wife got attacked by a bat.”
  14. “They were the emotional support person for their dog and it was going to thunder that day – they needed to be home so the dog didn’t get upset.”
  15. “Having cats ashes added to his tattoo ink and getting a tattoo- tattoo was to be of the cats’ footprints on his chest.”
  16. “A new employee called out in his third week because his girlfriend threw his shoe out of the window and he couldn’t find it. He never showed up for work again.”
  17. “My wife needs to bake a cake.”
  18. “I had no dry socks!”
  19. “I was told that the person was smelling a candle and they burned off their eyelashes!”
  20. “They thought it was optional.”