There is something positive to be said about people who commit a crime, do their time, and move forward to create a successful and purposeful life without ever looking back.
However, for some folks, going back and returning to the scene of the crime can be surprisingly delightful walk down memory lane – especially if the scene of the crime has since been renovated into a place to grab a warm meal and a cold drink!
Boyne Johnston was employed as a chief bank teller at the Imperial Bank of Canada in Ottawa where he earned a modest living in his early 20’s.
That is, until one fateful Friday afternoon in October 1958 when Johnston took $260,000 out of the bank vault, set a timer to ensure that the vault wouldn’t be opened until Monday and walked out of the bank a very rich man… at least temporarily
After taking is mother and wife out to dinner later that evening, Johnston took off to the United States and began bouncing from city to city, enjoying his newly stolen riches and tentative freedom.
But that freedom didn’t last long as Johnston was soon apprehended in a Denver nightclub after a waitress recognized him from the wanted posters that had been circulating around the news.
Johnston was promptly arrested, sentenced to four years in prison, and released after only a short stay behind bars thanks to early parole in 1960.
For most people, after spending time in prison for committing a crime, they tend to stay away from all things related to their crime-filled past – but not Johnston.
On August 10, 2018, nearly 60 years after becoming a bona fide bank robber, Johnston returned to the scene of the crime for a little walk down memory lane – and a glass of champagne.
No, Johnston wasn’t randomly popping champagne bottles in a bank; the bank that Johnston had once stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from has since become a fine-dining restaurant, the Riviera, with the fitting tagline, “Take It to the Bank”.
After Johnston enjoyed lunch at the Riviera with his friend, the two toured the restaurant, even visiting the bank vault turned wine cellar where Johnston reminisced about his days spent as a fugitive, detailing how he spent his short-lived riches on expensive champagne and fancy cars.
Even though Johnston was eventually arrested and sent to prison, he still maintains that the entire experience was well worth it because it allowed him to understand the true value of life.
The restaurant’s wine director, Alex McMahon, recalled what Johnston shared with him while visiting the restaurant, “He said the experience that he’s the most grateful for is the experience of going to prison [and how] you’ll never understand how amazing it is to get to live a free life until you’ve experienced that.”
And Johnston truly did go on to make the most of his freedom post-prison, working for a defense contractor as well as spending some time with a high-tech company and the government, all with his wife right by his side.
Johnston told McMahon that “every day after he got out of prison has been the best day of his life.”
If only we could all have that same mentality as Johnston, ideally, without having to spend any time in prison!
What life experiences have helped you find more value in life? Do you know anyone who has committed a crime and then returned to the scene years later? Share your thoughts and join the conversation below!
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