HR Strange But True!
October 31, 2008

We got a bunch of great submissions in response to our call for unusual excuses from workers for not being at work. After reading these responses, you may think twice about having a pet or living in an area with abundant wildlife--because the next bizarre excuse might just come from you.

But first, read this story about one employee's determination to be at work. Pass it along to your employees and see if it might reduce absenteeism.

"You asked for stories about strange excuses for missing work. This isn't exactly that: quite the opposite. I got a phone call one morning from a key employee. On the way to work, his car had slipped on an icy road, rolled over, and landed upside down in a ditch, with my employee hanging partially in freezing water. The police got there, cut him out--and then, while he was still in the ambulance being treated, the officer loaned his cell phone to my employee who called me, apologized, and said his wife was bringing him dry clothes, and he would be to work just a little late. I tried, and couldn't convince him to do otherwise. I always remember that morning when I hear some weak excuse for not making it in." -- Anonymous


  • "I once had an employee call in sick because her dog got a sunburn." -- Michelle
  • "The weirdest excuse for being late (yet): 'I'm late because my dog wouldn't poop.' I don't want to know if it's true or not!" -- Anonymous
  • "Employee's pet bird was sick and he had to take care of it." -- Anonymous
  • "(1) A doctor I worked with arrived to the office 3 hours late. He lived on an island in South Carolina . A 12 foot alligator was sunning himself on the causeway. He said it was entertaining watching people walk close to the gator and try to get him to move. Gators have no sense of humor and are rather stubborn. (2) An Air Force wife I knew missed half a day at work while living in Alaska. A moose was in her driveway between her car and her house. (3) While in the Air Force at Little Rock Air Force Base, I manned the night desk at a flying squadron. It was time for flight crews to check in and no one was showing up. When all 13 crews were 30 minutes late, I walked to the front door and looked out. The crews were standing in mass across the street. A skunk was catching bugs on the ground under the front porch light. I worked a window up at the end of the building and the crews had to crawl through the window to report in. When I called Base Ops to reschedule flight times, all I could hear was laughter." -- Anonymous

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

"Employee's neighbor was moving out. Seems the neighbor had been a long time admirer of the employee's landscape. Employee stayed home concerned that neighbor may make off with some of the flowers and shrubs." -- Anonymous

Who Needs Help?

  • "I had an employee leave a message on my voicemail at around 2 a.m. calling in drunk for the next day. What happened to the old standard of stomach flu?" -- Anonymous
  • "An employee called human resources to tell us that they would not be able to come to work that morning because they were stuck in the middle of a lake in North Dakota . Yes, North Dakota does have lakes. But if this guy could phone us, could he not phone for help? Why was he in the middle of the lake at 8 a.m. on a Monday when he was supposed to be on shift at 7 a.m.? Was he stuck all night? Again, USE YOUR CELL PHONE!!!" -- Anonymous

Sources: Our Loyal Readers

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