'My Butt Is On FIRE, Gary!' The Craziest Reasons People Didn't Show Up To Work.

We all need to take a 'mental health day' every now and then. But if your reason is this crazy... Whether it's true or not, you should just say you have food poisoning.


This piece is based on a Quora Question and an AskReddit thread. Link on the last page.

1/17. I had just been hired to be a landscape foreman, and one day seven of my eight crew members didn't show up for a job. When they came the next day I asked each one why. They all had the same excuse: Court appointment for a paternity test.

Obviously, I didn't believe that for a second; it seemed too convenient for all of them to have the same excuse, I thought. Maybe they all got drunk together and came up with a joke excuse.

So I looked into it a bit, and found out that they actually all did go to the SAME court house for a paternity suit with the SAME WOMAN. Oh, and none of them was the father. And according to the Bailiff (who was my uncles friend) none of the other nine men were, either!

-Javan Huntley

2/17. "My llama gave birth last night."

This from a high-level manager responsible for 36 employees at a billion-dollar company. She ran a farm 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."

-Thomas C. Mueller

3/17. In my office there was an employee who was fired 20 years ago, but his excuses for being late or staying have become legendary. (continued)

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He had dozens of dead relatives, and multiple ongoing problems with his car. He even was late one day because he backed up over a cat and was too upset to drive.

But I think my favorite one was when he was waxing his kitchen floor, and waxed himself into a corner. Apparently he had to stand there for an hour until the wax dried.

I've never met him but I feel that I know him well from his excuses.

This morning I woke up after a windstorm overnight to find my dead end street completely blocked by a downed tree.

I just emailed my excuse for being late to my boss. Her joking reply: "You sound just like (fibbing ex-employee)."

Even 20 years later his legend lives on.

-Maura Rudd

4/17. She was a fresh hire, and trouble from the start. Told the supervisor that she had to have Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays off for church, needed Tuesdays off for classes at the Y, needed at least one evening off to spend with her husband, and so on.

She was the kind of person you knew wasn't going to last long, especially in a hospital setting. You just don't get to name your terms like that. But for whatever reason, she got hired.

Anyway, one day, she went home for lunch. We didn't get a long lunch, it was usually right on a half hour and not worth going off-campus. But she drove home to her apartment across town, and we didn't hear from her for a couple more hours. Finally, she called and said, "I came home and forgot I was working today. Can I just stay? Do I have to come back in?"

The supervisor said that no, she did not have to come back in. (Ever.)

-Amorette Dye

5/17. I've got a friend who wanted to go the the beach, so he called in sick.

"What do you mean you're sick? I saw you 8 hours ago and you were fine."

"My butt is on FIRE, Gary."

Worked like a charm.


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6/17. This was during training days at a Software firm.

There is this guy would come late for the training every single day and would have a funny reason which would convince the trainer to let him into the class.

Even after numerous warnings, he came in late again. This time he was following another team member, a lady who was late as well.

When asked why she was late, the lady told a long, convoluted story about how she had a flat tire and had to get help to pull the car off road, which created a traffic jam etc..

The trainer let her in and then with an annoyed look turned to the guy and asked, So whats your reason for today ?

He replied Umm I was stuck in the traffic jam that she created!

The whole class erupted in laughter, the trainer couldnt help and had to let him in.

-Banish C.G. Babu

7/17. I once had an employee call in because he "woke up in poop".

There's no recovering a conversation once those words are uttered.


8/17. When I used to manage a restaurant I had a server call out because "her boyfriend had sex with her so hard the night before that she couldn't walk properly."

She prefaced this by saying the she knew she was about to provide me with too much information, but she was raised to know that honesty is always the best policy. After what felt like an hour of silence, all I could say was "ok."


9/17. The craziest excuse was my own, and it was also true! I woke very early in the morning to the sound of nearby gunfire. Someone two doors down was firing a gun out the window of his second-floor apartment, directly across from my bedroom window. (continued...)

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The SWAT team cordoned off the block, then came to my door and told me not to leave and to stay away from the windows. I called work and told them I could not come to work until the SWAT team eliminated the sniper next door and allowed me to leave my apartment.

They thought I was joking. I had to tell them to find a television or radio and check the news. Until they did, they still thought I was making the whole thing up.

-Donald Lynskey

10/17. When I was managing a fast food restaurant, this one guy told me that he NEEDED to go home early! I asked him why and he said because wrestling was on tonight.

Then he explained to me who was fighting and then told me the story of why they were fighting using quotes and sound effects. He was 43 years old.


11/17. I had a girl who had previously been doing an excellent job not show up one day. The next day she came in and said she had decided to become a Rastafarian and needed to go get dreads.


12/17. Back in the 1970s I was working for a company in London, and one of the guys was ALWAYS late, and ALWAYS had new and original excuses.

The one that finally got him fired was: "An elephant sat on the hood of my car." It turned out that this was actually true, because as he was driving to work he stopped to let a circus parade go down the street and... well, you can guess the rest.

-Robert Wilson

13/17. I once had a new coworker who walked in two hours late, with blood on his forehead, carrying his licence plate. He looked like he had shambled into the office out of a horror film. (continued...)

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When we asked him what happened, he said that he had an accident with his car because all traffic lights at the crossroad were green at the same time, and he crashed into another car.

When we asked why he was carrying his licence plate, he said I gave away my car A car that causes accidents is no good. Okay then.

A couple of days later he got fired, because he turned out to be a real flake. Coincidentally, he was married to a psychologist who probably made him her lifes work.

When he started working with us (only a couple of weeks before) he had to install some kind of software on his new pc. He got stuck, because he didnt agree with the disclaimer and thus wasnt able to click I agree.

He also didnt want an access badge, because he felt uncomfortable carrying a number on him.

When he finally got fired, he spent two hours writing a document, evaluating everyone he had contact with in the company during his three week reign. Unfortunately, I never got to read that document, I was really curious what he had written.

-Piet Hadermann

14/17. I had an employee tell me he had to go home because he had an abscess on his gum. Out of curiosity, I asked if he could show me. He had chewing tobacco in his lip and claimed that was the abscess. I literally face palmed.


15/17. I had a lad of seventeen (Joe) start as one of our apprentices. He was keen, a fast learner and a popular addition to the business. He was also a good soccer player who played pretty serious amateur soccer.

One Monday Joe asked if he could have a word with me. He explained that he had been approached by a scout for Fulham football club and was asked to go their academy to train twice a week. I agreed that he could have the two half days off and that I would still pay him for them.

After six months I was talking to a guy whose brother was the director of training at Fulham, so I mentioned Joe and asked him to find out about him. I wished him well, but I did not want to lose him as an apprentice. The response I got was surprising. (continued...)

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Well, the guy had never heard of Joe. Next day at work it all came out. It was all lies, Monday morning training was really lying in bed recovering from the weekend and Friday afternoon training was getting ready for the weekend. I didn't fire him, and he never let me down again. He now has his own company and is doing very well.

-Steve Black

16/17. My new receptionist was having difficulty adjusting to having a job. I didn't hire her but she worked directly under me. After several late arrivals and days called out I told her it was becoming a problem. She was the sister-in-law of an exemplary employee so upper management was letting it slide.

I, however, had to cover her when she wasn't there and I told her no more unless it was an absolute extreme situation. About 2 months of great attendance, her brother in law came to me on a Monday saying she couldn't walk.

"My gosh! Is she alright?" He sheepishly replied, "the tops of her feet are sunburnt."

-Laurie Camp

17/17. Back in the late 80's, we had a coworker whose excuses were the stuff of legend. Some of his greatest hits were:

He had opened his bedroom window for some fresh air and set his alarm clock on the sill. A thunderstorm came through during during the night and blew rain through the window, shorting out the alarm clock.

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 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.)

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.

-John Brittigan



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