Every Christmas, the tradition has been to bring out a wife or partner as a surprise from one of those required to spend the festive season offshore. “Smuggling in” the person concerned without being spotted is a fairly difficult operation.
Gunnar Sembsmoen’s wife had been picked out one year. He knew nothing about it, and – in line with tradition – she was due to be revealed during the coffee break on 23 December. She had been installed in a large cardboard box, which was then taped securely shut, placed on a trolley and wheeled into the dayroom.
The next step was to draw the name of the lucky winner who got to open the package. Everyone on board was present and an expectant mood prevailed.
The hat used for the draw contained 20 slips – all with Gunnar’s name on them. “And the lucky winner is Gunnar Sembsmoen,” the offshore installation manager duly cried.
Gunnar stepped forward and, before anyone could stop him, pulled out his Leatherman knife, drove it into the cardboard and sliced open the package. The whole audience gasped.
His wife then jumped out, unhurt. Gunnar was left completely flabbergasted, but recovered to give his wife a good welcoming hug to great applause from the whole room.