For 40 years, no one has been able to open this museum safe.
Locksmiths tried and failed to crack the code; the safe’s former owners could not remember the combination; and the manufacturers simply could not figure out how to reset the lock.
Experts said that the safe may have been untouched for so long, that even with the correct combination, the gears were simply failing to fall into place.
Since the safe had been condemned as “impossible” to open, it sat in the basement of the Vermilion Heritage Museum in Alberta, Canada and gathered dust – that is, until Stephen Mills visited the little town with his family.
The 36-year-old stopped by the museum last week with his wife and kids. In the midst of their museum tour, the guide explained the mystery of the safe to the family, and Mills could not resist taking a crack at the code.
“I was like, I gotta get down and try this for a laugh,” he told The Washington Post. “I was doing it as a joke for the kids, trying to be like in the movies more or less.”
Mills, who works as a machinist and welder, crouched down next to the safe and put his ear to the door. Upon noticing that the lock’s digits ranged from 0 to 60, he decided to try a simple 3-digit combination.
Over the course of the following 30 seconds, Mills spun the lock from 20 to 40 to 60 – and to everyone’s shock, the door swung open.
— NewIdeas4Living (@NewIdeas4Living) June 3, 2019
“I took the numbers out of thin air, like right out of my head,” he told The Post. “Right away, I stood up, and I was like, ‘I’m buying a lottery ticket tonight.’”
Town residents had always joked that the safe was filled with jewels and gold bricks – but as the tour group eagerly peered inside of the fabled treasure chest, they only found several yellowed papers from the 1970s, only some of which included a waitress’s notepad with an order for a mushroom burger and a payout slip for a hotel employee.
Regardless of the safe’s contents, museum staffers were over the moon with excitement – although they say that they have put duct tape over the locking mechanism to keep it from resealing itself in the future.