back to blog

28 Hilarious (and Real) Excuses for Being Late for Work

Two goats in a field

In honor of daylight saving time, we asked our staff and colleagues the most hilarious excuse they ever heard (or told) for being late to work.

With dozens of responses, we concluded that many of you and your employees are really into rescuing animals. Who needs work when Fido’s in trouble? Another significant amount of you have had to deal with some very devastating wardrobe malfunctions.

Other excuses were so bizarre that they were difficult to categorize. But we tried. And don’t worry, we withheld names to protect the innocent (and not so innocent).

Without further ado, the most hilarious excuses for being late to work belong to:

Ace Ventura with many animals

The Animal Rescuers

  1. I spotted two dogs running alongside the road and stopped to corral them into my car. I then realized I had no plan for what to do with them after they were in. I worked at a veterinary clinic, though, and as luck would have it, it turned out that the dogs were clients.
  2. I stopped to rescue a duck that had been hit by a car. Sadly, the poor creature expired on my lap while I was sent to various rescue agencies to get it some help.
  3. A stray dog barked outside our house all night. I put him in my car to take him to the no-kill shelter. On the way there, he puked. Then the shelter wouldn’t take him because he was a pit bull. I took him back to my house (which would become his home!) then got the car detailed before going into work.
  4. There was a scorpion in the bathroom, next to my bare foot while I was on the throne. I restrained it with a glass and dispatched it once priorities were handled.  I also got a vitamin pill stuck in my throat that day. It stayed stuck for two hours while I drooled into a cup, all while teaching a class from the back of the room to avoid even more embarrassment.
  5. I was actually late this morning because I had to check on my new baby goats. I had trouble finding a mother and her daughter, who was born on Sunday.
squirrel eating peanuts

Not Animal Rescuers, But Blaming Animals Anyway

  1. I had to get a squirrel out of my car.
  2. An employee said “fighting deer” kept him up all night and he slept through his alarm.
  3. My dog chewed through my charger overnight. My phone died, and my alarm didn’t go off. This actually happened, but my boss didn’t believe me.
  4. While in the shower, I suddenly heard a loud crash followed by a blood-curdling “scream” and hiss echoing from the far end of my bathroom. I ripped open the shower curtain, only to see a gaping hole in my ceiling and a fat, orange tabby cat sitting directly below it, just as startled as myself. It was Tom, my upstairs neighbor’s cat, who had apparently been living in the crawl space between our apartments. He had completely torn apart the HVAC system and had been stealing my heat all winter. I took a picture of Tom, the hole, and the heating system, and promptly sent them to my boss.
  5. My friend was an hour late to work and, upon arriving, his boss told him he was going to be fired because it was his fourth time being late. He responded with one of the best lines I have ever heard. He said he was late because he hit a nutria with his car. (What’s a nutria you ask? Find out here.) The boss was so taken aback, he bet my friend’s job on it being a real thing. After looking it up and finding that a nutria is, in fact, an animal, he let my friend keep his job. In case you’re wondering, my buddy never did hit a nutria, but the elaborate lie still saved him. The devil is in the details.
  6. There was a cow blocking the road.
  7. I locked myself and my dog out of my apartment building.
Not sure if teacher accidentally put on two different shoes this morning or is more hipster than I am

Wardrobe and Beauty Malfunctions

  1. I went to the gym before work and remembered to bring my shampoo, hairdryer and straightener, lunch, and a change of clothes. But I forgot a bra. I was late because I had to go desperation bra shopping.
  2. I made it all the way to the parking lot before I realized I had two different shoes on. In my defense, it was stupid early and I was sleep-deprived.
  3. An employee was late because his pants were in the dryer.
  4. My baby spit-up all over me as we were walking out the door. I had to stop, bathe the baby, and change my clothes.
  5. A friend was blow-drying her hair while using a round brush and got the brush completely stuck. She had to go to her hairstylist to cut it out, but she didn’t have a car at the time, so she had to take the bus across town. The brush was stuck in her hair the whole time. I think being late to work was probably the BEST part of her day compared to that.
  6. A co-worker admitted she was late because she “got overzealous washing her face and had to change clothes and start over.”
Car crashed into garage

Moving (Or Not Moving) Violations

  1. There was a metal ladder spread across all four lanes of the road. Three guys had to work together to move it!
  2. I was told by an employee that her garage door opener remote was broken, and she could not get her car out of the garage.  I had to educate her on the usefulness of that little string that hangs down.
  3. While driving to work, I noticed several police officers chase a naked man into someone’s front yard (in the middle of winter in Fargo, N.D.)! The guy was only wearing knee-high moccasins. Naturally, I stopped and watched while an officer tasered the naked man, who then fell into a snowbank and was taken to the squad car. It was worth every minute of being late that day!
  4. The police were arresting someone and their car was blocking my driveway. Ah, the old days in East Austin.
  5. I was super organized. I had the kids in the car, lunches made, backpacks ready. We were on a roll, out on time, feeling invincible . . . until I backed the car into the closed garage door.
  6. Someone I work with told me they couldn’t come into work one day because there was a fight in her street and the police had blocked it off. It must have been an epic fight because it lasted all day.
meme: spring forward you must or late you will be

Other Tall Tales

  1. Back when I was single, no kids, no responsibility, and apparently no concept of time, I somehow managed to miss daylight saving time and not notice until I showed up an hour late to work on Monday. My boss wasn’t sure which was worse: the possibility of me lying or my aimless, drifting life.
  2. I had a coworker tell me he didn’t show up to work because he thinks his one-night stand knocked him out.
  3. I once told a boss that I couldn’t go to work because I was allergic to my Christmas tree and that I was going to have to de-ornament the tree and throw it out. I really was allergic, but now that I’m older the lame excuse makes me cringe.
  4. An employee had four grandmothers die in one month.

Do you have any real-life examples that can top these? Have you heard any that made you laugh so hard, you gave the employee credit for creativity? If so, let us know!

Need to Find Qualified Employees?

If you need to fill temporary, temp-to-hire or direct hire positions – our Austin staffing experts have the knowledge and experience you need to get the right candidates in front of you.

Fill out the form below and one of our specialists will contact you to answer your questions and give you more information about The HT Group process.

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Like what you read?

Subscribe to our newsletter for more!

Copyright: mihtiander/ 123RF Stock Photo