By Evie Carrick
July 04, 2019

The mystery behind a safe that’s been locked for four decades has finally been solved, thanks to an unsuspecting — and extremely lucky — tourist. The safe, which was donated without a combination has been sitting in a museum in the small town of Vermilion in Alberta, Canada since the early 1990’s, according to reporting by The Washington Post. For years, the museum’s staff, the safe manufacturer, and professional locksmiths have tried without success to unlock it — deeming it probably impossible.

Yet somehow, tourist Stephen Mills was able to open the safe in a matter of seconds — and on his first try — while visiting the museum on vacation with his family. Without knowing just how many attempts there had been, Mills gave the lock a try. The machinist and welder told The Post that he had no expectations and said, “I was doing it as a joke for the kids, trying to be like in the movies, more or less.” He noticed that the safe’s dial went from zero to 60, so he tried 20-40-60.

“I took the numbers out of thin air, like right out of my head,” he said. “20 three times to the right, 40 two times to the left and 60 one time to the right, and tried the door and it cracked open.”

The contents of the 2,000-pound black metal box were papers dated 1977 or 1978, an employee pay slip, and “a pile of dust,” said Mills. Not the “treasure” those who knew the safe’s history might’ve imagined — but for Mills, it was enough just to open the long-sealed safe. He told The Post that, “Right away, I stood up, and I was like, ‘I’m buying a lottery ticket tonight.’”

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