Walter MacFarlane was on a quest to find out more about his family. He didn’t know that his brother had been in his life for decades.
As KHON in Honolulu reports, MacFarlane met his best friend, Alan Robinson, in the sixth grade. The pair is only 15 months apart and spent the next 60 years in each other’s lives. They were both born and raised in Hawaii. They played sports together and went to the same high school. And they were brought together by a common bond: neither knew much about their family.
Robinson was adopted and MacFarlane did not know his father. In the video below, Robinson told KHON he had begun to accept that there were some things about family he would never experience:
“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.”
Meanwhile, MacFarlane decided to learn more about his biological parents. He started on social media, but ran out of leads. Then his children got him a DNA kit for his birthday. When the results came back, he had a strong family match in a user called “Robi737.”
MacFarlane realized his friend Alan Robinson (nicknamed “Robby”) once worked flying 737s for Aloha Airlines. He called his old schoolmate and they put the pieces together. MacFarlane and Robinson had the same mother. The two men who had been friends for 60 years were actually half-brothers. And Robinson was an uncle after all.
MacFarlane told KITV in Honolulu he had no idea they could be related: “You know honest to god, it never did cross my mind.” Robinson agreed:
“Never crossed my mind either. That’s what really amazing. We go [back] 60 years.”
But there were a few clues, if they had known to look for them. The pair has played golf and softball together, shared hobbies, and finished each other sentences for decades. They meet regularly to play cribbage. MacFarlane told KITV that in high school, they were lined up right next to each other on the football field:
“It was so funny because you know when we played for Punahou, we were both first string and we’re brothers, playing side by side. He’s the tackle, I’m the end and we never knew.”
People have even commented on the resemblance between the two. MacFarlane told KITV:
“There was times when I did think, ‘I look like Robby a little bit.'”
And MacFarlane — who is the older brother — has spent a lifetime unknowingly looking out for his younger sibling. Robinson told KITV:
“This guy was, he was like an older brother all along, you know we’d go to Punaluu go skin-diving, I’d be making noise in the water splashing around, he’d be teaching me how to do it right. He’d always come out of the water with the biggest string of fish and I had the smallest.”
The newly found brothers shared the news with family and friends at a special event last weekend. Though they’re still getting over the shock of the discovery, they plan to spend enjoy their retirement and travel together. Robinson told KHON:
“This is the best Christmas present I could ever imagine having.”