You’ve more than likely heard about people doing it on the internet. And honestly, there’s a pretty good chance that you or someone you love has done it, as well. We’re not talking about a new fad diet or exercise routine. And we’re not talking about a new dance. What we are talking about is at-home DNA testing. Whether it’s to trace their history or find long lost family members, people can’t stop talking about at-home DNA testing. And while most people see at least something that they expected, the people in these stories received a surprise of a lifetime when they received their results.
72-year-old Alan “Robi” Robinson and 74-year-old Walter MacFarlane are what most people would consider lifelong friends, but these best friends have quite an unusual tale to tell.
Their story began in the 1960s when the two boys entered into Punahou Middle School in Honolulu, Hawaii. Like a lot of young boys, these two had plenty of things in common. But unlike others, these two had something in common that most do not.
It wasn’t long before the two boys became inseparable from one another.
They did everything together. They played on the same high school football team and they loved being outdoors. But the one thing that bonded the boys together more than anything else was where their lives started.
Robi had never known either one of his biological parents because he was adopted from a very early age, and Walter was in a very similar boat.
Walter’s mother, Genevieve, was planning on giving up Walter for adoption from the very start, but her parents decided to intervene. Walter’s grandparents decided to “hanai” Walter, which is a common practice in Hawaii that allows family members to adopt a child without having to go to court. So Walter’s grandparents raised him like their own, but he still had no clue who his father was.
The boys were almost 15 months apart, which meant that they had different circles of friends, despite how close they were.
Even though the boys were always close, it was inevitable that they would follow different paths in life. “He was the party-er. I never went to or did any partying in high school,” explained Walter, who was more into sports than drinking and girls.
Robi was always less inclined to play sports, but eventually, he decided to buckle down.
After Robi made the decision to quit partying and get his life on track, he attended aviation, which would eventually lead him to become a pilot for Aloha Airlines.
Even though the men followed different paths in life, they were still able to maintain a friendship for 60 years!
“I grew up calling him Uncle Alan. Uncle Alan was my brother’s idol growing up because he was an amazing pilot. I have a few pictures of us on his sailboat at 9 and 10, and his daughter, Tara, was about 4. When my brother Aldon and I were kids, they hung out a ton,” explained Walter’s daughter, Cindy. Even though Walter was happy with his life and grateful for the abundance of love, there was still something missing.
As Walter continued to get older, he couldn’t stop thinking about the father he had never learned anything about.
“It was great for me. I was raised by the best people you can imagine. But when I had my own two children I did wonder about family history because I can never answer any health questions on official forms,” explained Walter. His children knew that they had to do something to help, so Walter’s daughter, Cindy, decided to have him take a DNA test.
Once he got the results back, things really started to get interesting for Walter.
“So then we started digging into all the results he started getting,” said Cindy. They would soon find out that the DNA results would prove to be one of the greatest things that Walter had ever done.
One of the top matches of the DNA test proved that Walter wasn’t alone in the world.
Apparently, there was someone out there that had an identical X-chromosome, meaning that somewhere in the world was Walter’s half-brother. Beyond excited, Walter began to do some more digging and what he found would knock the wind right out of him.
As it turns out, the half-brother that Walter was looking for used the nickname Robi737 on the DNA website.
Walter couldn’t believe it! Could Robi737 be the same person that he had been friends with for six decades? There was only one way to find out.
A few years prior, Robi had used the same DNA websites to try to find his birth family.
“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, will I ever get to meet anyone from my family?’” Robi was about to find out that his family was close by and he never even realized it.
Walter had his suspicions that Robi was the half-brother that he was looking for, so he decided to confirm it. Walter gave Robi a call and asked him if he had done any DNA tests, and if so, did he have the username Robi737? Robi confirmed that it was him and Walter was in shock. The two had been best friends for their entire lives and had no clue that they were actually biological brothers.
The two immediately got together to talk about their findings.
As they held their arms next to one another, they knew that they truly were brothers. “Yea it was a shock, definitely and then we thought about it and compared forearms,” said Robi. Walter confirmed Robi’s point by adding, “Yea hairy arms, that did it!”