In 2016, Patrick Stevenson, a photographer in Australia, found a locked safe in a house where he had been living. After five years, he finally decided to open it. With the help of his brother, he breached the safe, and inside, he found a lone piece of treasure: a condom branded to tie in with the 2002 Vin Diesel movie xXx. Recently we spoke about this remarkable discovery. Our interview has been condensed and edited.
Where did this safe come from?
I was living in a share house in a suburb called Redfern. Our landlord decided to sell the house from underneath us so it put all of us on our asses. Cleaning out the house, packing everything up, we discovered a secret latch under the stairs in the hallway, which looked like it hadn’t been opened in many, many years. Looking in there, we could see a safe.
What did you do?
I did the right thing—I contacted the landlord and I said, “Hey, we’ve found a safe. Do you know anything about it?” She goes, “Yeah, that was there when we moved in. We can’t open it. You can have it. Do with it what you want.” And I was like, “Oh, fuck yeah, this is great.”
Why did you take so long to get around to opening it?
I didn’t have the means to open it. I’m not a lock picker; I don’t have a history of opening safes. And also, I love to procrastinate. But my brother James is a classic Aussie tradesman and he was like, “Just give it to me, mate, we’ll get straight into it.” Every time we were in my garage, I was like, “Fuck, we should open that thing.” And then I finally had to go to my brother’s place, and I took the safe with me. I knew from the amount of interest that gathered around me posting it on social media last time that I needed to document the opening of this safe.
Had you attempted to open it?
I’ll be honest: I threw it on the ground once. So that dented the metal a bit. It’s 20 kilos. But it was not opening. Also, we were trying to gauge what was inside of it to see if it was even worth opening. We couldn’t hear anything banging around inside of it and we were like, “What if there’s cash? What if there’s a deed to some sort of property somewhere?”
How did your brother manage to open it?
He marked some lines on the bottom side of the safe and then he used an angle grinder to cut the base out of the safe. He went through a bunch of blades. One of the best comments in the Instagram we posted was some guy who said, “I hope it’s full of blades.” Everyone was placing their bets to see what was in there. I knew from jingling it around there were no solid objects in there; I knew whatever was in there, it would have been light. I didn’t know it was gonna be as light as a condom.
What was going through your head?
We were like, “That was all for nothing: five years of sitting on this, hoping there was something in there.” And then my brother goes, “Hold on … there’s something in there … something down the corner there.” And he pulled the condom out and he’s just like, “No way.”
Was the condom literally the only thing there?
Yeah. We call them frangers in Australia. Obviously, someone was like, “We’re gonna fuck with whoever opens this thing.”
What happened in the moments after you discovered it?
It took on a life of its own. A friend of mine, Christiaan Van Vuuren, did some screenshots of my video and he posted it on his Twitter and it blew up from there. I had to go and do a job straight after, and I didn’t see it for four or five hours, and I came back to it. Today it’s well over 150,000 views on Instagram Live.
What’s the plan for the condom?
My brother gave me a plastic case and he went, “You need to hold onto this condom—it’ll be worth something one day.” I’ve now got that condom in a case exactly where the safe was sitting.
The longer we’ve stepped away from it, the funnier it’s become. There’s a lot of puns, especially with Vin Diesel. In The Fast and the Furious, he played a con, and his name was Dom…
Has there still been no response from Mr. Diesel?
I’m waiting, mate. I’ve put my number out there. I’m waiting for Vin to hit me up. Let’s do Fast and Furious 76. Let’s do something. xXx 2. Did they do a number two?
They did. And a third one. Maybe this is inspiration for a new one.
Yeah, The Lost Condom. Imagine the marketing boardroom where they were just like, “I’ve got it: condoms. Let’s make xXx-branded condoms.” What movies promote with condoms? Unless it’s a sex-focused film, I don’t get it.
It’s called xXx, I guess? But no, I can’t think of any other films that released a tie-in merchandise condom.
Let’s start Toy Story 6 condoms. Finding Nemo 3 condoms.