25 Bosses Talk About Their Employees That Have Died Unexpectedly

If someone doesn’t show up for work, you should probably check up on them. You wouldn’t want to add to these unfortunate stories from Ask Reddit.

Unsplash / Brooke Lawson

1. I found him dead on the bathroom floor

“I was dating the personnel director at the time and we both worked for the same company but in different capacities. It was the early 1980’s so no cell phones back then. There was a factory worker who, for years, was always dependable, on time, didn’t take days off etc. Then he doesn’t show up for work for 2-3 days without any notice.

My girlfriend, the HR director, was calling him several times a day but he never answered his phone. She got worried and decided to go to his home and she asked me to go with her. It was in the evening and dark when we got there. He lived on the 2nd floor of a house converted to a 2 flat. We could see there were lights on upstairs but there was no response to our ringing the bell.

We got a ladder from a next door neighbor and I climbed up to the window where we saw the light. When I got up there I could see the gentleman laying on the bathroom floor. I could see he was slightly swollen and obviously deceased even from a distance of about 20 feet.

At that point we called the police. We didn’t know how to get in touch with the landlord so the cops called a locksmith to drill out the lock. We fully expected there would an awful stench but there wasn’t even though the heat had been on and he’d been dead for at least 3 days.

Bottom line, he had been sitting on the toilet reading a newspaper and he had a heart attack and fell off the toilet with his pants around his ankles. Even to this day I think about that every once in a while and hope that if I die alone, that’s not how they find me.” — heckydog

2. He tried to rob a house and got shot to death

“I was one of the few people at this restaurant who didn’t do drugs. Most just did weed but a few did hard stuff. This guy was always showing up early, even volunteering for double shifts. One day he didn’t show up. Then another two days. Boss calls him and tells him his fired — he didn’t answer. Next day read the newspaper. This guy was very high, tried to rob a house of a military vet. Got shot.” — Nukemind

3. My father smelled his coworker’s rotting corpse

“Not me, but my dad. He’s a manager at a factory, and had a worker who hadn’t come in for work in a few days. He finally decided to go to his house to see if he was alright. He went to the house, but then went inside after he smelled something disgusting. Both the worker and his girlfriend had overdosed on heroin, and had just been rotting for days.” — Lord_Apollk

4. Her own boyfriend murdered her

“My father’s coworker didn’t show up for work one day, later that night they saw on the news that her boyfriend killed her and tried to kill himself. My dad was devastated, they were super close and he even knew the boyfriend.” — ill_jay

5. One of our electricians died during the job

“I am a supervisor at a major auto factory. Had an electrician not show up after lunch. Hour later had to shut one of the lines down because one of the lifts was leaking a really nasty thick oil. Called maintenance over; missing electrician decided to tighten some bolts on the lift before going to lunch without locking and tagging out the machine… Operator not seeing the electrician hit machine reset as he went to lunch, sending the electrician up on the lift into the rafters smashing him into goo. It was awful… we were all working feeling, smelling the ‘oil’ from the leak because we couldn’t identify it… it was the guy. Still haunts me… Had to go stop his wife from coming in the plant too, worst day of my life.” — metzd87

6. She died in a freak car collision

“This was back in 2006. I had hired three people for phone sales positions. One girl, two guys. The girl never showed up first day or day after. Got a call from her mother four days later that she and the husband had died in a freak head-on collision not a mile away from the job site. She was only 18. That was probably the worst phone conversation I’ve had to have with someone.” — kiddykatsmackattack

7. He got hit by a truck on his way to work

“Story from my boss. He hired a new kid and he was going great. One day buddy didn’t show up so he called his house to find out where he is. He thought maybe he slept in or whatnot, nope. Kid got run over by a dump truck driving his bicycle to work that morning…” — TimmyIo

8. She committed suicide after being abused

“Not the boss, but worked at a place where this happened. We’ll call the girls Cathy and Maggie. Cathy didn’t show up for her shift. Maggie was pissed, because she had vouched for Cathy when she was getting hired and they were friends from way back. The next day Maggie comes in looking like she has been crying all day. Cathy had killed herself as it turns out. I remember hearing Maggie say that Cathy’s dad was physically abusive and that he got away with it because he was a high ranking officer in the local PD. Unfortunately, we’ll never know her reasons because the note she left was destroyed by all the blood.” — stoli80pr

9. A pregnant woman died in a car accident on her way home from work

“We had a young lady pregnant with her second child die in a car accident one night on her way home from her shift. She left about midnight and it was rainy. I was managing at the time but in the mornings. She didn’t ‘not show up’ though, her family called that morning to let us know… I got to answer that call, then inform my superior and the staff… and talk to her grieving grandparents later when they came to ask some questions. Her fist son was only 1, her and her husband were basically still newlyweds.” — Im_a_lion_babe

10. He died alone in his home from a heart attack

“The company accountant was a very quiet, older guy. Very reliable, very meticulous – as all good accountants are. The first un-notified day off was a surprise, but we didn’t check up until the second or third. Had no close family or friends. We were actually the ones to have the police investigate his house. He died of a heart attack alone in his home.” — JohnnyCharisma54

11. He sent us a message on social media after his death

“Something I can answer. I manage our locations social media among other things. One day we get a Facebook IM from a tenured employee, ‘I told you I was sick, now I am dead.’ Perplexed, I call the guy, and his son answered. Apparently part of his will was to send us a Facebook message.” –nofilmincamera

12. He died from an unexpected heart attack

“I hired a new department supervisor who was supposed to start that Monday. I ordered business cards for him, got his office ready. He didn’t show up, which was surprising because he was very reliable and dependable. Then I was told that he had died of a heart attack over the weekend.

It was so weird to throw his business cards away when they arrived. Poof. All gone.” — TeaAndCrackers

13. She jumped off of a bridge to her death

“I worked at a preschool that in general was terrible towards the staff. A lot of teachers rage quit so when this one teacher didn’t show up, no one was really surprised. The owner tries to get into contact with her but no reply. She assumed that this woman had enough and rage quit like so many others. A few days later, the woman’s adult son calls us up to let us know she passed away. The stress of working at the preschool combined with other issues was too much and she jumped off a bridge. It was very sad. The parents never found out as the owner outright lied to them and everyone else was banned from mentioning what happened to her.” — Choactapus

14. He swerved to avoid hitting a dog and died in the hospital

“I worked fast food in high school, and one shift I was tasked with training a new hire for his first day. After his shift, he grabbed his schedule and said he’d see me the next day.

We later learned from his parents that, on his way home, a dog ran in front of his car. He swerved to miss it but hit a tree instead. He died in the hospital.” — drewxdeficit

15. I found him after he had been dead for three days

“I’m responding to this a bit late now, so I expect it’ll get buried, but this happened to me this past January.

We had this employee, Jay, from Poland. He was always a bit of a nightmare to manage because he was always on the booze. He’d never drink in work but as soon as he got home he’d go and get pissed. This led to many hangovers and him getting into stupid, although often hilarious, situations and coming into work the worse for wear. He also had a heart condition discovered just a few months before.

He was always up and down with his moods, so much so that we’d suspected he had undiagnosed depression. Obviously there were other signs but he had often called one of the managers in the middle of the night crying or upset and on the edge of harming himself.

When Jay missed a shift due to his antics he was always quick to message or call and let us know what happened and why he’d gone AWOL. As he was amazing at his job though, and in an awful place personally, we’d kept him on. Come Boxing Day this he didn’t turn up for his shift. He called us the next day to explain he’d supposedly had food poisoning and that was why he wasn’t in. This was the final straw for my boss and he put him on a final warning.

Jay was due to work the 2nd of January (New Year’s day is a public holiday in the UK) and had the preceding 2 days off before hand. He never showed up to his shift on December 30th. Because he liked to drink we all assumed he’d been on a bender and was hungover. At this point he was all but sacked. I went into work by accident on the 2nd January (read the wrong week’s rota…) and saw that he still wasn’t in. He hadn’t contacted anyone in all that time which was also out of character. I decided to swing by his place to see if he was alright.

Because he hadn’t updated his personal details I didn’t have his house number, just his housing estate. Ended up walking around for over 2hrs on that estate looking for him asking if anyone knew him. Finally met an old lady who knew who he was. She took me to his flat. The front door was locked so I tried the back and it was open. There he was, dressed in his PJ’s. He’d been dead for 3 days. Called the police. Gave statements etc. Turned out to have been heart failure. He was 32.” — Cozzers

16. He died in his kitchen after a fight with the manager

“Person I worked with was in his 50s had a disagreement with the manager and was sent home, suspended for two weeks.

Letters sent to set up a personal meeting which he did a no show on. A week later it was on the news that a body had been found and it was him. It finally came out that he’d gone home from work and just died in his kitchen… He’d laid there all that time until the neighbors complained of the smell.” — paullaroy

17. He killed himself the night before work

“I worked at a grocery store a few years ago. One morning, one of my coworkers parents called the store and said her son worked there and wouldn’t be showing up for his shift later that day, or ever. He had committed suicide the night before right after work. I never got the full story. The supervisors wouldn’t let us talk or gossip about it. That’s understandable but I couldn’t help but wonder because I had just worked with him the night before and then the next minute he was gone. I think he was only like 20 years old.” — Cheesy678

18. She got into a horrible car accident

“We had a lesser manager get into a horrible car accident, she swerved into the other lane on an undivided highway. We didn’t know for a couple days, eventually it was in the paper.

A few of us think it was intentional, she was going through a lot at the time, but it’s a subject that we agree to never bring up.” –MilkQueen

19. His alcoholism killed him

“Guy I worked with was in his mid 50s and had some health problems related to his years of alcoholism. He had a tendency of not showing up some days because of it. We had a long weekend and he didn’t show up on Tuesday. No big deal. Thursday rolls around and still nothing. Friday morning our director goes to his place. He lived alone in a run down trailer by a nearby lake. Dead as can be.” — uni-monkey

20. He suffocated in his sleep

“I’m not a boss but my friend from trade school finally got hired and it turned out he got hired where I was working. I was stoked to see him. He didn’t come in one day and everyone was like where is he? Turns out the dude had really bad sleep apnea and legitimately suffocated in his sleep. We found out because his wife called to let us know. I get so bad for the guy because he had a really hard life and he was so motivated to do well.” –AlphaKiloAlpha

21. He died of an asthma attack during a jog

“My cousin died of an asthma attack. He’d been jogging… without his inhaler. Someone found him on their lawn near a jogging trail. He was a teacher, his principal went to his apartment to check up on him, then checked the police station…nothing. Then just on a hunch, he called the morgue. There he was. No ID on him. Don’t know how long it would have taken to get to his body if his principal hadn’t made it personal.” — mikeymikeymikey1968

22. She crashed her car and was in a coma for weeks

“One of my employees was late for her shift, and since she’d had a rough couple of weeks lately, we figured she’d quit without notice. About an hour later we get a call from the hospital because she’d run into a tree on the way to work and they couldn’t find any emergency contact information for her. She was in a coma for a few weeks, and when she woke up, she had no memory of the last year and a half. Since she’d been working for us about eight months, for her it was like we never existed. She came into the store about six months later and didn’t know any of us or anything about working there. She didn’t die, at least, but in some ways it still felt like it.” — goreycat

23. He passed away in his sleep

“I was a shift manager at a video store and we had a guy that worked there as a second job just trying to get some extra money until his main job picked up a bit. He stopped coming in one day and I just assumed he had quit. A week or so later his sister brought in some DVDs he’d had in his apartment and said that he had died in his sleep apparently. She didn’t even know he worked there, just saw that he had videos and wanted to return them. Dude was maybe late 20s early 30s and it was completely unexpected.” — explosivo85

24. He died — and was still expected to come to work

“Worked in retail hell. We had an old guy that took every shift ever. Basically, management started relying on him. Boss lady tells me to call and ask why the fuck Otis hasn’t come into work.

I called the number he gave us. A man picks up and says Otis died last night.

I tell my boss. She asks, ‘Can he still come in?’ It took me twenty minutes to explain to her that he died. He passed away. No longer with us. Every time she just kept asking him to come in. It finally sunk.

‘We need someone to pick up his shifts. Can his son come pick them up?’

When I said that was probably illegal she looked at me and asked if I wanted to work 80+ hours that week.

Keep in mind. Retail hell. No overtime, holiday pay, or breaks (they often… ‘forgot’ about breaks.)

I said no because I had school. They asked me why I haven’t I dropped out yet. After that, I just said I quit and walked out. Last thing I heard as I was walking out as management asking if Otis can come in.

That old man had balls of steel. We used to call him Spartacus because we are pretty sure he was a gladiator in some ways.” –Magic_Apple_Donut

25. He got fired, because of his death

“My dad worked with this guy. He was never late, never called in and he didn’t show up to work. No call no show in the casino means they fire you.

His family all lived out of state so three days later his landlord checked on him because he was late with the rent and he never was late with his rent. He was dead.

His family tried to get his life insurance but it was cancelled due to him being fired. The casino tried to say he had to call in if he missed work, no exceptions. I guess being dead is merely a slight inconvenience and you still need to call in to work.” — mysterious_banana Thought Catalog Logo Mark 

Holly is the author of Severe(d): A Creepy Poetry Collection.

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