Let’s face it—almost every single one of us has ended up being late to class at least once or twice. It can be pretty easy to panic over how to excuse yourself for not being on time, and teachers are always ready to deal with a white lie. Whether it’s imaginary appointments with the dentist or sudden and unexplainable stomach aches, there can be no end to students’ creativity.
Yet, some stories can be so ridiculous, people can’t help but question whether they are real. User minecraftplayer48 decided to ask the teachers of Reddit, "What was the best excuse for being late that turned out to be true?" As of this day, the thread has collected more than 9.7K comments full of examples of how people didn’t make their wild stories up.
From getting pulled over by the police to assisting with births, Bored Panda has collected some of the craziest answers from this thread. Check them out down below and, if you’re up for it, share your own experiences in the comments!
#1Told me he got pulled over by the cops for wobbly driving on his bike and they thought he was drunk. Turned out he was just dodging all the slugs on the street.
Image credits: Fortisvol
#2I was one of about 20 kids who were late to school. We showed up at the school office as a group and when questioned why we were late, we said "The school bus blew up".
They questioned "So the engine blew up"
The kids "No, the whole bus, in flames. It blew up"
There was much conference between the teachers, all of them thinking we embellished the story. Next thing you know, one of the admin staff has the news website open, very obvious image of an entire bus on fire with a bunch of kids in our school uniform standing in front of it. Our late slip for class read "School bus blew up".
Image credits: AusPB90
#3I was the student...my neighbor had a really social goat, and she figured out how to escape her pen in order to come over and hang out. She escaped and followed me to the bus stop, and when the bus came, she tried to follow me onto it. I couldn't actually get on the bus without her being right behind me, so I had to get off, bring her home, and call my dad to bring me to school.
Image credits: shoppy33
#4A kid missed my first period class one morning, but was in school later that day. When I asked him why he hadn't arrived in time for my course, he said his cow was birthing its calf that morning, so he'd picked being in the barn over English. Made sense to me. His essays weren't going to win any ribbons at the county fair, but his calf could.
Image credits: BobosBigSister
#5I apologize that I'm writing this on mobile, so there might be errors. I'm an English professor, and one year a pretty good student showed up without one of his 2 major term papers. He explained that his safe had been stolen by a contractor who was working on their house. His laptop was in the safe, and that's where his paper was. I genuinely believe him because he been a really good student.
Then over the next few weeks, he started to show up to class looking very tired. He said that he was on a hunt for the person who stole his safe, and he was spending late nights with his cousin driving around looking for the guy because they knew his van. Now, the student and his cousin were both recently back from tours in Iraq and had seen combat experience. They wanted to find the guy to beat the s**t out of him and get the safe back because his wife's wedding ring was in the safe as well as a bunch of cash. He rewrote the paper and turned it in, apologetic that it wasn't up to his usual quality, but he still kept coming to class looking like he hadn't slept.
After a little while he came very happy to my office hours, and he reported that he found the guy after a long search that involved breaking into a meth den shaking people down with baseball bats and even bribing some prostitutes. He said that they found the guy's van at a Taco Bell after getting a tip from a prostitute, and they cornered him and waited for the police to come.
I read in the news that he had in fact done a citizen's arrest and stopped the guy at a Taco Bell, and that they ended up calling in the Secret Service because he used the cash that he stole from the safe to buy a bunch of counterfeiting equipment. Secret Service apparently investigates counterfeiting, so the whole investigation happened because this guy who I dub "the white Shaft" tracked the scumbag down through the bad side of town late at night to get a wedding ring, some cash, and his research paper back. It all turned out to be true. He got the ring and the laptop back. I gladly accepted his original paper, and it got a much higher grade than the rewrite.
Image credits: kidnuggett606
#6Kid was late to school and had to miss a very important football game. The reason? His fat Pug fell asleep on his phone. The pug’s fat rolls muffled his alarm.
Image credits: tip52
#7We had an exam in my class and the teacher got a message from a student saying that he was going to be late because his car had a flat tire (the student was known to party), the teacher didn't think it could be true, so as a joke the teacher asked him to bring the tire back. He brought the flat tire back in the middle of the exam. Needless to say, the professor didn't expect that.
Image credits: Sapang
#8In my hometown if you walked into anywhere late and said the phrase "Sorry, grain train" you were never challenged. It was extremely common for 50+ carriage trains to run through the middle of town.
Image credits: Zeruvi
#9When I was student teaching, I was late because there was bunch chickens in the middle of the road. They wouldn't move at all. This is in the middle of a city of 200,000 people. Freaking chickens.
I finally get to school and profusely apologize to my mentor teacher and I told her why I was late thinking it sounded ridiculous. She said, "yeah, those chickens are f**king a**holes, they surrounded my car in the McDonalds parking lot last year. Dont worry about."
Image credits: Makenshine
#10“MTV paid me $50 to fill my backpack with cement and carry it around for the day.” I accepted that excuse. Student later regretted it, as a replacement backpack and college textbooks far exceeded $50. But he got his moment of fame and I didn’t penalize him for his tardy. Gotta live a little.
Edit: someone found a newspaper article on this. Turns out it was $200. He “earned” $100 for the first day and $100 when he returned the next day. I remembered $50, but it was 19 years ago. So ha, I was RIGHT to believe him! He still lost all his stuff (thanks cement), and I remember him telling me it wasn’t worth it.
Image credits: surgicalasepsis
#11Not me but in my class.
This was in College, a student turned in work late after not showing up for two classes. Two classes amounted to a full week so it was noticeable.
Professor looked at him and said "I hope somebody passed away for you to be this late"
"DOES MY DAD COUNT????"
Honestly I've always heard you can hear a pin drop and never really thought anything of it, but yeah you could hear a f**king pin cut through the air after that.
Image credits: whereegosdare84
#12When I was in college, my psych professor told us that the only excuse for being late was a funeral procession. Any other reason, you wouldn't be allowed to come in.
A few weeks into the semester, I was headed from one building to another, which involved crossing the main road. Lo and behold, there was one very long funeral procession going by. I got a short video of it as proof, then stood on the sidewalk to let it go by.
Unfortunately, the procession made me five minutes late to class. I knocked on the door, and the professor came over to start to tell me off. I showed her the video.
"Well I'll be damned, c'mon in."
Image credits: Jupichan
#13She had to take her sister to school and drive her mom to rehab. She was always late to class because her mom just wanted to sleep in. Problem was if the mom was late or did not go she would have violated her probation and gone to prison. I never marked her late. If she missed anything important she could come in at lunch or after school to make it up.
Image credits: Rm156
#14A guy in my college class missed class one day. The next day he came in with his eye covered up and medical paperwork in hand. Apparently he got pecked in the eye by a chicken.
Image credits: BrrToe
#15This one happened to a classmate when we were in college training to be teachers. She missed a really important class, came for just the last 10 minutes or so because her neighbor knocked on her door while in active labor asking for help a little while before she was supposed to leave for class. Classmate walked back to neighbor's house with preggo neighbor and delivered her baby in the living room while on the phone to 911. Paramedics came and mom and baby were fine, but classmate needed to go home and shower/change first because she was covered in blood.
Image credits: Sheldon_Turtle
#16Bear in the backyard. No access gate. Animal control had to tranq it from the room and drag it through the house. Made the news. Got to retake the test I missed after sending her the news article.
Image credits: Vladtehwood
#17Student told me he couldn’t do the work because he was delivering oil from 3PM until 11PM. In middle school. He wasn’t lying. Dad has broken his both of shoulders and one clavicle so his grandma and pregnant mom were “switching off driving” (pretty sure he was doing most of it at night) and he was hooking the tanks to the oil. I called all his teachers and had his work load lightened and got permission for him to come in an hour late each day as he was providing the only income for his family of eight, as he was the oldest. Tutored him so he could pass seventh grade. I paid cost of oil only for years until I moved out of the area.
#18Not a student, but one of my Teaching Assistants when I ran a pre-school in West Philly... 'sorry I missed yesterday, my friend shot my mom'. Naturally, I'm a little speechless... 'oh no it's ok, he was AIMING FOR SOMEONE ELSE'
Image credits: Scoutnjw
#19Flock of wild turkeys in the road. Not always school, but this happened more than once in my life.
For those of you who have never found yourselves in this situation: there is no way out of it. Wild turkeys will move when they damn well decide to do so, and only then.
Image credits: lizardgal10
#20"Sorry Bohemian Rhapsody came on just as I parked." - My art teacher when he was about 5:55 minutes late.
Image credits: Deeberer
#21Not a teacher, but a kid walked I to my class one day and literally just said "sorry I'm late, I didn't want to be here". He wasn't wrong I suppose.
Image credits: Scally59
#22This happened to me as a pupil; a very quiet, unassuming kid in our class came in to German with about five minutes of the class left.
We went to a Catholic school and the teachers were all quite strict and intimidating. Classes were usually silent, especially in junior school. When this boy came into class at the end of the lesson that day, the door flew inwards with such force that the teacher gave an audible gasp.
It had been raining heavily outside, his hair was plastered to his forehead. His blazer was dripping and sodden. He had mud caked into his trousers up to his knees, and he was breathing heavily.
The teacher exclaimed, ‘Brendan! What happened?’ We all stared up at him in shocked silence. This quiet, unassuming little boy let out a big sigh and just said, ‘I took a shortcut.’ And went straight to his seat.
That line became iconic in our school for years afterwards.
Image credits: lestat85
#23I had a six year old turn up late to her lesson and blurt out "sorry I was late, I had to colour in a bunny!"
Image credits: BlossomBelow
#24Former student here.
"Sorry, boss, my stepdad tried to [take our lifes] last night and I had to deal with the cops".
Professor just looked at me for a moment and said "....dude do you want to like, go grab a drink and talk about this after class?"
Man, my English prof was a bro when I was in college.
#25A kid’s apartment burned down overnight. He was a little late, but still came.
Image credits: arcant12
#26(not a teacher but...) at the end of year 11 on our last day, we had a mini awards ceremony, one of which was best excuse for being late. one boy in my year had got his shoes wet and they hadn’t dried by the morning so he took the next logical step to dry them: putting them in the oven.
Image credits: sapphological
#27Had a college algebra teacher show up late or no show almost every class. The other students thought it was hilarious because if there’s no teacher for 15 mins you can leave. So we had no class a huge chunk of the semester and it really aggravated me. This is preyoutube and I was not understanding the math at all and the girl trying to tutor me didn’t speak English well and my grade for the first time ever in my life was suffering (and I’m paying for the class)
One day, teacher showed up about 20 mins late and I’m one of the few people who didn’t take off early and he angry walks in, slams his briefcase on the desk and says “I apologize for this semester. I have cancer. I’m dying” and then left.
..I don’t know what happened to him tbh
#28Im not the teacher, but we we’re told that he had a paramedic student who on their way to write their final exam rolled their car into a creek picked up whatever books they had out of their car and ran the rest of the way to class. Obviously got there late and in tears. You better believe they had a different exam date.
#29Hmmm, I had a student whose father had died and had not done any homework or prep for the geography class, from what I heard the teacher scolded him for not doing so but the student didn’t want to say anything (presumably sensitive issue) so his best friend shouted at the teacher “DONT YOU HAVE ANY SHAME, HIS FATHER DIED LAST NIGHT” and the teacher said “I don’t care”, there was an audible gasp and I was in the next room.
Needless to say that teacher is no longer employed here.
#30Obligatory I'm not a teacher. My Dad, who was a teacher , was late himself because his car got surrounded by sheep and he couldn't get out. Joys of living in Wales.
#31“The cows got out. I had to wrangle them all up back into their pen.”
#32Not a teacher but a friend said his house blew away. Apparently... tornado.
Image credits: seanmasitoshi
#33The child missed my first-hour class, notes said car accident on the way to school and would be coming late. The kid comes for 2nd hour, has pictures on his phone of the ROLLOVER accident! WTF, kid, go home. Rest. Take care of yourself.
Image credits: Sheldon_Turtle
#34Middle school boy was late because he watched his dad become a citizen.
#35Not teacher, but pupil. I was in a car crash on my way to school. About 5 cars involved because some jerk decided to overtake us since we slowed down coming to a turn. So a trip to the hospital to get checked, and then school 3 hours late. I had small cuts all over my face from glass flying everywhere and had a really sore shoulder, but my teachers wouldn't believe me until police showed up because they forgot to get a statement from me. Apparently some of the other involved people died and the jerk got 8 years in prison.
#36My auto teacher let me practice removing and adding the tires on his vehicle. The next morning it was about 20 minutes into first period and no sign of him. He comes running into the classroom out of breath and his hair is all messed up. He points at me and says "YOU!!!! What is a torque wrench used for???" I respond with "I don't know." He says "I know you dont know!!!" Turns out one of his tires came off while driving down the highway.
#37"My car got hit by lightning." It did, in the school parking lot. Her tires were melted to the pavement. She had to go out and deal with the tow truck/call her parents/etc. It was pretty dramatic.
Image credits: mamacrocker
#38One of my organ students told me he was late arriving for his lesson because he got stuck behind a lengthy funeral procession en route to the cemetery.
I knew he was telling the truth because I had played the organ for the service earlier that morning and the church was packed.
Image credits: Back2Bach
#39A student was absent.. I asked why, someone yells out he got shot by a cross bow... Turned out it was true... Kid was away because he got shot by a cross bow.
#40A kid came in late from lunch, but handed me a half dozen fresh tamales from his family’s tamaleria, and I was 9 months pregnant, so obviously he didn’t get in trouble.
#41Taught a group of seniors first period. It was towards the end of the year. I had a class of around 30 and only 5 were there when the bell rang. Halfway through class the rest of them show up. They went out to Cracker Barrel for breakfast and brought me some back. All was forgiven.
#42I am a teacher but this happened when I was a student. Does it count?
In high school a kid came late to history class. He was a joker so when someone asked him where he had been, he goes “I was kidnapped.” Everyone laughed, until he goes “no really”.
Turns out 2 guys kidnapped him and tossed him into the back of the minivan he was using for his morning paper route. They drove him around while they robbed something. I can’t remember what happens after. I think they just drove the van somewhere and got away.
#43I taught college English. A student suddenly stopped showing up and wasn't responding to emails. I googled him just to make sure he hadn't died or something, and I found his mugshot. He was in jail.
#44I came in late after getting my ruptured appendix taken out and still couldn’t walk as fast as usual. English teacher locks the door and tells me to go to the office but I already had a doctors note in hand. I kept knocking until he opened it and let him yell for a few minutes before showing him I got out of surgery like two days prior and didn’t even HAVE to show up for another week or two. He shut up pretty quick.
#45Had a Sociology prof in college who was never late for anything. One day, we showed up for class and he wasn't there. After five minutes or so, we are reading the handbook to find out what level of Professor he was and found that he was an Associate professor and entitled to ten minutes wait. A few seconds before his time expired, a voice came from under his desk saying "Today we are going to discuss withdrawn personalities." He conducted the whole class from under his desk.
#46I was the student... I was walking to school and two of our cats were following me. I had to round them up and take them home. My dad wrote me a note for my lateness, which included the phrase “animal show-and-tell day”.
Here are pictures of the cats. The two that followed me were the orange one sitting on the dishwasher door and the tabby underneath it (better picture of her included). Fun fact: all but one cat (the tabby in the middle) had the same mother.
Image credits: Scidalsidekick
#47School sporting event. Kid on our team was late because someone stole his windshield wipers and it was snowing out. Kept having to pull over to the side of the road and wipe off his windshield.
A fair-skinned student (age 10) went with a friend to the Holi festival at a nearby Hindu temple where she was covered with red powder and dyed bright red from head to toe. Her mother, another teacher at the school, had made her sit for hours in the bathtub to soak it off, but even after another round of early morning shower scrubbing, she arrived at school a pleasant shade of pink. (Technically, she wasn't late, but she stayed in her mother's classroom until the bell rang)
#49My best friend and I used to roller skate to school and one day we both forgot to put our shoes in our backpacks. So we skated to the vice-principal’s office and got to skip first period to go home for shoes.
We stopped at Taco Bell on the way back for breakfast, because we figured we were already excused.
Image credits: Grizelda_H
#50A student of mine this year found out an interview she gave was quoted in an article of TIME. That seems like a good reason to go tell everyone on your way to class. I let it slide.
#51I was the student. When I was in college I opened my front door to see S.W.A.T. teams and DEA agents outside of my house. The one who looked at me was holding some kind of AR. I went back inside.
From what I heard, there was a multiple-sting operation that happened around my town and my neighbors place got raided.
I missed half of my classes that day.
#52Kid was with his girlfriend in the hospital after accidentally giving her something with peanut butter. She was allergic.
#53Not me, but one of my good friends:
She went to the Royal Military College of Canada, where they wear their uniforms and there are often tourists visiting the campus.
Apparently, it was completely normal to be waylaid by tourists looking to have their photos taken with students in uniform that all they had to say when they walked in late was "tourists" and the professors would let it slide.
She always wondered how many family photos she was actually in over her time spent there.
Image credits: superstartsky
#54I'm not a teacher but when I was at uni I was really late because I had a dream that my lecturer phoned me and told me that the class was cancelled.
I told her and she laughed, but because it was so ridiculous she knew I wasn't lying.
#55After 9/11, my small-town high school received bomb threats every week for two months, and they decided to make us attend school on a Saturday. Myself and about 5 others showed up for our classes, and every teacher said something like "I can't wait for the excuses on Monday."
Most of the excuses were something along the lines of "family plans" or what not, but one kid was made read his dad's note aloud to the class because our first period teacher thought it was hilarious. In the most down south accent you can imagine, it went something like "my son ain't too smart, but he knows you ain't supposed to get punished for someone else being a dumbass. Bought him a six pack, so he was drunk. Y'all can f*ck off".
I wish we had smart phones to record back then so I could share it.
#56I remember in high school another student asked our history teacher this question. Our teachers answer was that he had this student run in 20 minutes late not a say a word and turn the class room tv on and start flipping through channels. When the teacher asked him what he was doing, the late student said the country is under attack, I figured you hadn't heard as my dad started to yell at me to return home when I was just down the block. The student explained he went to see what his dad wanted back at home and that his dad hugged him and showed him the news before driving him to school late. Our teacher explained the only acceptable reason he has ever let anyone show up late was 9/11 or a personal tragedy.
#57So this happened to me. Me and my friends were on lunch and kicking around a makeshift tinfoil ball to pass the time. Somebody kicked it to me and I put my full force behind volleying it back into the air. My right shoe (converse, half a size too big) came off my foot and landed on top of a three storey building. Had to call my Mom to come collect me so I could go home and change shoes, she was extremely pissed.
#58I teach Primary school (Year 4) in suburbia in Western Australia. Kids were late because they found a baby camel.
#59Me. Woke up and went into my kitchen completely black with soot and full of smoke. My mother left the clothes iron on overnight. My school uniform was destroyed. I was late to school by 25 minutes and was the only person not wearing our uniform. Damage to the kitchen was approximately 35,000.
#60Student here, I headed into school early to get some studying done in the library before my night class. I was one exit away when I was caught in a 3 car accident. Most of the expressway afterwards was gridlock with only one lane left open. I did eventually make it into my lab class 15 minutes late, with a few scrapes and bruises. My professors reaction was simply "Oh that was you!"
#61I’m not a teacher but I have a good story. So my class was doing a pretty important debate in which everyone had to participate. So this one kid( I’ll just call him Ron) didn’t just show up late to the class he missed the class altogether but in the next period he showed up with his explanation. His family owns all kind off animals and it turns out a baby zebra was born and eaten by vultures in the same morning.
#62When I was in HS our apartment in Brooklyn, NY was broken into. Thankfully nobody was home, but all of our electronics were stolen. My computer (had a desktop with a big screen at the time) was also stolen which was connected to the same outlet as my alarm clock. Reset the time and went to bed not realizing I needed to reset the alarm too, showed up to my Sat SAT prep about 2 hrs late, explained to the teacher what happened, and she met with me during the week to go over materials. She was a rockstar
#63Obligatory not a teacher, but I'm an admin at a music school.
I had a mom frantically call me and let me know her daughter would probably be late or miss their guitar lesson in a couple hours cuz she couldn't find the kid. I was just kind of like "uhhhhhhh okay...well I will let her teacher know".
Got another call about an hour later from the same mom. She found her kid, but apparently the daughter went to a friend's house and decided to dye her hair green??? They lived pretty closeby, so I did let them know they could still come in for their lesson. Mom said she would call me back and let me know in a minute or two...never called back.
Her daughter showed up for her lesson about 5 minutes late with this bright green coiffure. I gotta admit it looked rad as f**k, but also kind of a confusing thing to be an audience to the buildup.
#64My goats got out.
#65My best story ever! I taught in a hard core inner city school. My student comes in at 10:30. I was like, dude, where were you. Oh, my bus was late. Yah, no. Why would your bus be three hours late. Well Miss, there was a drive by shooting. OMG are you okay? Someone shot at the bus? No ma’am, a kid shot a gun out of the bus. We got pulled over. The cops had to search everyone. The kid with the gun was literally the last kid to be searched. True story, you can’t make this s**t up.
#66UK - a student couldn't submit an assignment on time as 'the wifi was down on the Megabus'.
#67In high school, I biked to class. One day I hit a rock and ate absolute s**t. I obviously got to class late. Before I could say a word my teacher stopped the class and said “Thank you for finally joining us, why are you so late?” I raised my heavily bloodied hands and elbows. It must’ve looked bad because she audibly gasped and rushed me to the school nurse apologizing nonstop the entire way.
#68Not a teacher, but a kid came into class a little beat up and almost an hour late. He accidentally drove off a cliff while texting and his phone was broken so he walked to the closest place where he could get some help. (He was sent to the hospital almost immediately, and he was okay except for a concussion and bruising)
#69“I got hit by a bus.” Turns out, he got hit by a bus.
#70This was me as a student, my parents thought I get President's Day off so they didn't wake me up.
#71I was the only high schooler on our school bus one winter. The other detail important to this story is that we had the oldest model bus that wasn't in the best mechanical shape. It had one of those mechanically operated doors, it would shoot out a plume of black smoke every time it started, and just looked much less fancy than all the other buses the school had.
Anyway, one winter it was so cold that the diesel engine stopped working. The bus driver said the cold made the diesel in the fuel lines "gel up." I have no idea if that's accurate, but either way the bus wouldn't start. Fortunately we were only 5 miles from the school and all the kids had been picked up already. So they just radioed another, newer, bus to loop back around and pick us up. The bus driver had radioed the elementary school but completely forgot to let the high school know. So I show up to class and the teacher asks why I was late.
I said, "the cold caused the fuel lines to gel up in the school bus" repeating exactly what the bus driver told us. But I was the only high schooler on that bus so no other students were there to back up my story. The teacher didn't believe me, and instead of just calling the main office to verify my story she mocked me in front of the whole class saying "it's not possible for fuel to freeze in the cold." And everyone in the class agreed with her saying that I was a bad liar and laughed at how dumb my story was.
Ultimately the office did let her know about the bus after she tried giving me a detention, but the embarrassment is still there and she never gave me an apology.