Think you’ve heard every excuse for lateness? Check these out

deer traffic
Deer caught in the headlights
Photograph by Chris Tobin—Getty Images

Ice and snow across much of the country are doing a pretty good job of slowing traffic and train service to a crawl. But only 26% of employees who admit to showing up late to work say they’ve ever been held up by the weather, according to a new CareerBuilder survey of 2,100 managers and more than 3,000 workers.

Instead, people often give reasons that are more, um, surprising. Asked to recall the most unusual excuses they have heard, here’s what the managers said:

  • “I knocked myself out in the shower.”
  • “I forgot which Waffle House I parked my car next to.”
  • “I discovered my spouse was having an affair, so I followed him this morning to find out who he was having it with.”
  • “Someone robbed the gas station I was at, and I didn’t have enough gas to get to another station.”
  • “I had to wait for the judge to set my bail.”
  • “There was a stranger sleeping in my car.”
  • “A deer herd that was moving through town made me late.”
  • “I’m not late. I was thinking about work on the way in.”
  • “I dreamed that I got fired.”
  • “I went out to my car to drive to work and found that the trunk had been stolen out of it.” To back up his story, the employee snapped a photo.

About one in three (30%) employees who’ve come in late confess to having lied about why they were delayed, perhaps because the repercussions can be harsh: 41% of bosses told CareerBuilder they have fired someone for lateness.

Still, it seems an even larger number of managers are willing to be flexible. A third (33%) of employers say they have no problem with the occasional late arrival, and 16% don’t care at all whether employees are punctual or not, as long as they get their work done — no photographic evidence required.

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