Mr Newman and his new friends

Whenever we could, we would all gather around the dinner table together to hear my father’s stories of how he used to fix garage doors as part of his residential garage door service, of the people he met and the adventures he would sometimes find himself on. This evening was no exception as he recounted a story of hidden treasure and a mysterious customer.

On this occasion my father was called to an old house within the city, one of a few that had a garage, although the property itself was a little run down and dilapidated. When he arrived he was met by a slightly unusual looking man with a beard who was wearing sunglasses, even though it wasn’t a particularly bright day.

The man showed my father to the garage and explained the problem, which was that the door would no longer open but the man wasn’t sure of the reason. This particular door was not electrically operated but relied on the torsion spring arrangement to balance the door and allow the door to be opened manually and easily due to the springs taking most of the weight of the door. The door could be locked shut manually by a conventional key lock on the lever handle.

Treasure chest

The man disappeared back into the house. My father noticed the man seemed a little nervous and edgy but thought nothing more of it and got on with the task of investigating the problem of the malfunctioning garage door. After twenty minutes or so, my father had pinpointed the problem to an obstruction which was caused by something against the wall having moved too close to the door slider mechanism. He started to move several objects in order to gain access and to clear the obstruction.

The obstruction of the sliding tracks

My father had almost finished when he moved a large sturdy box which had a front opening door which fell open as it moved. Inside my father saw some jewels and a couple of small oil paintings. They looked very expensive and it seemed odd to him that they would be stored in a garage. Not wanting to pry further into his client’s personal effects he quickly closed the box and finished his repair.

He explained to the man and showed him the finished work. The man saw that the box had been moved and suddenly appeared even more nervous than before. He quickly thanked my father, paid him and showed him out.

Later that evening while watching the local news, my father saw a report about a robbery at a local gallery the previous night. Having not seen the contents of the box clearly, my father didn’t immediately think about the garage, but after a few hours something was bothering him, and after discussing it with my mother, he decided to call the police. After all he didn’t want to cause unnecessary trouble for the man if he was completely innocent.

Anyway, it turned out that the goods my father saw were stolen as the report on the TV had shown, and the gallery was so grateful to recover the stolen goods that they thanked my father with a generous reward. My father thought about how unusual it was to come across a customer like this as his customers were always so polite and kind, but came to the conclusion that there was always going to be a ‘few bad apples’. He donated the reward to his favorite charity because that’s the sort of person my father was…

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