Opening Jitters

Sept. 2, 2019
Every locksmith has some stories about how lockouts went wrong

A recent article described an older man on the East Coast who collected very expensive antique watches all of his life. As the value of his collection increased, he decided to put his collection in a safe deposit box at a local bank. Over the years the local bank changed ownership several times and more safe deposit were added somewhere along the way.

The man recently went to the bank to retrieve his watch collection only to find that his safe deposit box was empty. For some reason the added safe deposit boxes had duplicated some of the old box numbers and the wrong box with a duplicate number had been drilled open. The contents had been saved, but the man is now claiming that his most valuable watches were missing from his collection.

My memories go back to the many safe deposit boxes I have drilled open. Banks always had the box renter present and purposely wanted the lock to be drilled as a visual display of the security in their boxes even if using nose puller tools or picking may have been possible. I never had a problem with opening the wrong box, but it was always on my mind.

Being able to open any locked security product is probably one good definition for what a locksmith does, but it was not my favorite type of job. Every locksmith has some stories about how lockouts went wrong. As example, one night I was called by a man who told me he was locked out of his home. I arrived, checked his credentials, unlocked the front door and fit two keys. Just as I was leaving his wife came home and told me that she had just locked her husband out of the house two hours before. Just one of my many similar stories from profitable but dangerous nighttime calls as a locksmith.

Perhaps beginning locksmiths may enjoy the challenge of taking on a job any time and anywhere but in the interest of prudence and a good night’s sleep, I learned long ago that the only nighttime calls I responded to were regular commercial customers. Otherwise nothing is so important that it cannot wait until the next morning.