OAHU, HI (KHON) – A family in Hawaii got a life-changing surprise just in time for the holidays.
A man searching for his father ended up finding out that his best friend since grade school was actually his brother. The men are 15 months apart in age and have known each other for decades.
After 60 years of being best friends, Alan Robinson and Walter Macfarlane say they found out they were related through a family history and DNA website.
“Let’s see, well we love to play cribbage. We’ve been playing cribbage all our lives,” Macfarlane said.
“I beat him the last time we played,” Robinson said.
The two were born and raised in Hawaii and they played football at Punahou.
They initially met in the 6th grade.
“He was the party-er, I never went to or did any partying in high school,” Macfarlane said.
They also shared a special bond throughout their friendship. Macfarlane never knew his father, and Robinson was adopted.
“I had a younger brother that I lost when he was 19, so I never had nieces or nephews. I thought I’ll never know my birth mother, I’ll never have any nieces or nephews,” Robinson said.
With the help of his family, Macfarlane searched for answers over the years through the internet and social media with no luck so they turned to family DNA matching websites.
“So then we started digging into all the matches he started getting,” Cindy Macfarlane-Flores, Macfarlane’s daughter, explained.
At the top of the list of DNA matches was the username Robi737.
The results showed Macfarlane and robi737 had several matches in their DNA including identical X chromosomes.
Here’s where Robinson comes in.
“As a nickname everybody called him Robi and he flew 737s for Aloha Airlines, he was a pilot,” Macfarlane-Flores says.
It turns out Robinson had also used Ancestry.com to find answers about his family.
After a few phone calls back and forth, the men learned they shared the same birth mother.
“It was a shock,” Macfarlane said.
“Yea it was shock, definitely and then we thought about it and compared forearms,” Robinson said.
“Yea hairy arms, that did it!” Macfarlane exclaimed.
The two revealed the discovery to friends and family Saturday night.
“It was an overwhelming experience, it’s still overwhelming. I don’t know how long it’s going to take for me to get over this feeling,” Robinson said.
Now that the initial shock has set in, Macfarlane and Robinson say they have plans to travel and enjoy retirement together.
“This is the best Christmas present I could ever imagine having,” Robinson said.
“It really is a Christmas miracle and we’re just so happy that we found it,” Macfarlane-Flores said.