The Best Excuses for Being Late That Turned Out To Be True According To Teachers

Car didn’t start? Major roadworks? Or did something much worse happen?

Here are some of the best true stories from teachers and students who were late due to extraordinary circumstances.

She Needed To Check Her Mom into Rehab

rehab group

One student had to escort her mom to a rehabilitation facility, which meant that she was often late for class.

Her mother’s probation stipulated that if she failed to show up on time, then she would risk going back to prison.

Thus, the teacher chose not to mark the student for tardiness and instead allowed her extra time to catch up after school or during lunch.

Her Mother Was Shot


When the teacher of a preschool in West Philadelphia had one of his teaching assistants miss a day, he was surprised to hear the reason why.

Shockingly, he found out that the TA’s mother had been shot by her friend.

The TA at the time told him, “‘Oh no it’s ok, he was aiming for someone else.'”

The School Bus Blew Up

bus blew up

The students were late to school, and when questioned, they explained that their school bus had exploded in flames.

When the teachers thought of it as an embellished story, one of the administrators confirmed it by opening a news website with an image of the bus engulfed in flames and a group of kids in their school uniforms in front.

The late slip for the class read, “School bus blew up.”

Caught Drunk Cycling

cyclist crossing road

A student was pulled over by the police for weaving in and out of traffic on his bike. The officers assumed he had been drinking, but it turned out he was just trying to avoid all the slugs on the road.

Grain Train


In one commenter’s hometown, if someone ran late for an appointment and said, “Sorry, grain train,” they were never challenged.

It was common for long trains with more than fifty carriages to pass through the middle of town, causing people to be delayed.

Backpack Filled With Cement

heavy bag

A student entered the classroom late, citing a rather unusual excuse. He explained to his teacher that MTV had paid him $50 to fill his backpack with cement and carry it around for the day.

The teacher accepted this excuse, and the student later regretted the decision when he realized how much more expensive replacement textbooks were than his pay.

However, he still got to have his moment of fame without risking a penalty for tardiness. The teacher later found the news article to prove she was right for believing him.

Had to Help a Goat


A student was running late for school when their neighbor’s goat followed them to the bus stop.

The student couldn’t board the bus with the goat in tow, so they had to get off and bring it home before calling their dad to take them to school.

Forgot Their Shoes


Two students were late for school because they had failed to put their shoes in their backpacks after rollerskating to school.

They decided to skate to the vice-principal’s office, where they were granted permission to go home and retrieve them.

Apartment Burned Down

burned house

“A kid’s apartment burned down overnight. He was a little late but still came,” one teacher said.

The Cow Was Calving

cow and calf

One student missed their first-period class one morning due to a cow in their care giving birth. They had chosen to be present at the birthing over attending English class.

“Made sense to me. His essays weren’t going to win any ribbons at the county fair, but his calf could,” the person wrote.

A Funeral Procession

funeral procession

One student arrived late to their lesson due to a lengthy funeral procession they encountered while on their way.

The service had been well-attended, as evidenced by the length of the procession that was preventing them from reaching their destination.

The student was telling the truth, and the teacher knew this, having played the organ at the service earlier that morning.

Death of a Family Member

death coffin

One user recalled an awkward conversation between a professor and a student who had missed two classes and submitted work late.

The professor looked at him and said, “I hope somebody died for you to be this late,” and the student replied, “Does my dad count?”

The atmosphere suddenly became very quiet and tense, as it seemed that this student was telling the truth.

Car Got Hit By Lightning

lightning strike

A student’s car was struck by lightning while in the school parking lot one day.

The tires of the car had melted to the pavement, and she needed to go out and deal with the tow truck and call her parents.

It was a dramatic scene that made people take notice.

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late for school

Sometimes life just doesn’t go to plan, and we have to face problems that prevent us from being on time for school or work.

We hope you enjoyed this list of best excuses for arriving late to class, according to Reddit. What was your best excuse?

This article Best Excuses For Being Late was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Reddit source.

I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.

I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others!

I enjoy traveling, nature walks, and soaking up a new culture. Please share the posts if you find them helpful!

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