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‘A Fox Stole My Car Keys’ and Other Brilliant Excuses for Being Late to Work

running late alarm clock
Glindsay65, Flickr

Coming up with creative excuses for not getting to work on time is just part of the American way, it would seem. A new study has found that not only are employees in this country frequently running late, but they’ve been making up some real doozies to keep out of trouble on the job.

Traffic, bad weather, trouble with the kids, etc., are still quite popular, but some workers have begun digging a little deeper for a more elaborate excuse to avoid beating that dead horse right to the unemployment line.

How much deeper, you ask?

According to the recent survey from CareerBuilder, employees will say just about anything to attempt to explain why they are punctuality-challenged. Some people run late because their cat gets the hiccups; others must battle wild animals who ran off with their car keys.

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, says that nearly 16 percent of the American workforce shows up to work late at least once a week, while 30 percent are guilty of this financially dangerous habit once a month. Despite this creative genius by employees, Haefner says that nearly one-third of employers surveyed claim they have fired a staff member for frequently showing up late.

The survey of more than 3,000 human-resource professionals and nearly 8,000 American workers uncovered a myriad of outlandish explanations as to why employees cannot seem to get to work on time. Some of them included an employee saying:

  • he got distracted watching television
  • she thought she had winning lottery numbers (she didn’t)
  • his roommate got mad at him and severed the cord to his phone charger, causing his alarm not to go off
  • a fox made off with his car keys
  • his leg got trapped between a subway car and the platform (this one actually turned out to be true)
  • he wasn’t late because he never had any intention of showing up at work before 9 a.m. (he was supposed to start at 8 a.m.)
  • he was late because he had a job interview
  • he was late because the governor called (also true)


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