Kicker: A mysterious safe

NICK EICHER, HOST: A couple hours’ drive east of Edmonton, is the small town of Vermillion, Alberta, and there you’ll find a nice little museum.

It’s filled with early agricultural equipment and business history among other things.

But for the last forty years, it held a mystery: the black two-ton safe from the historic “Brunswick Hotel.” It was locked tight.

Nobody knew what was in it. Worse, nobody knew the combination to open it! Locksmiths couldn’t figure it out. Neither could the maker of the safe. Nothing worked.

Until, that is, Stephen Mills showed up.

He’d heard the story, and then he introduced himself to Tom Kibblewhite, who works there.

KIBBLEWHITE: He asked if he could try it. I said certainly, go for it.

Now, Mills was no safe cracker. He just knelt down and picked three numbers at random.

MILLS: Clockwise three times 20, counterclockwise three times 40, clockwise one time 60, and gave it a shot and sure enough it opened.

Both men stood there stunned to see the steel door swing open.

As for what was inside?

KIBBLEWHITE: A pay slip for an employee and part of a waitresses order pad.

Why put that behind a locked, steel door. We can only chalk that up to seemed like a good idea at the time.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

(Chris Stead/Courtesy of Stephen Mills) Stephen Mills and his family at the Vermilion Heritage Museum in Vermilion, Alberta, in May. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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