Guy Spins Dial 'for a Laugh,' Opens Safe Locked for 40 Years

'No gold bars, like I'd hoped'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2019 10:45 AM CDT
Museum Visitor Takes Wild Guess, Unlocks Safe
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/farakos)

Visitors have long fiddled with the old safe that sits on a reinforced floor in the basement of Alberta's Vermilion Heritage Museum, without any luck. The manager of Vermilion's old Brunswick Hotel couldn’t remember the safe's combination when the hotel closed in the 1970s, and a locksmith eventually concluded the 1-ton box was probably too old and seized up to ever be unlocked, even if the right combination was found, reports the CBC. A machinist from Fort McMurray has now proved just how wrong she was. On vacation with family, Stephen Mills was taking a tour of the museum two weeks ago when the safe caught his attention. "I said, 'I'm going to try this now for a laugh,'" Mills tells the CBC. "I put in 20-40-60, three times right, three times left, one time right." Then: "Oh, my God."

"It couldn't have been more than two minutes ... and the safe opened," says museum volunteer Tom Kibblewhite. "I was in total shock. And he was, too." There was a cloud of dust, but "no gold bars, like I'd hoped," Mills tells the Vermilion Standard. The safe contained only a few hotel documents, including a pad of restaurant orders and a 1977 pay stub for a grand total of $6 and change, per the CBC. Noting the safe was probably last opened in 1977 or 1978, Kibblewhite says museum officials plan to leave the door ajar—they've covered the locking mechanism with tape—fearing Mills' move might not be repeated. Mills, meanwhile, is feeling pretty lucky. "Tom asked if I was a professional or something," he tells the Standard. "I said, 'No, but I'm buying a lottery ticket tonight.'" (More Canada stories.)

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