HAWAII — Two men who have been best friends for decades just found out they are closer than they ever imagined. After searching for a family, both men discovered they are half-brothers.
KHON-TV said Alan Robinson and Walter Macfarlane have been the best of friends for 60 years.
“Well, we love to play cribbage. We’ve been playing cribbage all our lives,” said Robinson.
“I beat him the last time we played,” said Macfarlane.
The two were born and raised in Hawaii and they played football at Punahou. They met in the sixth-grade and shared a special bond throughout their friendship. Walter never knew his father and Alan was adopted.
"I had a younger brother that I lost when I was 19 so I had never nieces or nephews and I thought I'd never know my birth mother, I'll never have any nieces or nephews,” said Macfarlane.
With the help of his family, Walter searched for answers for 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 of the matches he started getting,” said Cindy Macfarlane, Walter’s daughter.
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At the top of the list of DNA matches was the username ROBI737. The results showed Walter and ROBI737 had several matches in their DNA, including identical X chromosomes.
“As a nickname, everyone called him [Alan] Robbie. And he flew 737s for Aloha Airlines. He was a pilot,” said Cindy.
It turns out Alan 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.
The two revealed the discovery to friends and family Saturday night.
"It was a shock -- definitely a shock, but then when you thought about it, compared forearms and everything,” said Macfarlane.
"Hairy arms! That did it!” said Robinson.
Now that the initial shock has set in, Walter and Alan say they have plans to travel and enjoy retirement together.
"This is the best Christmas present I can ever imagine having,” said Macfarlane.
"It really is a Christmas miracle and we're so happy that we found it,” said Cindy.
Information from KHON-TV was used in this report.
Cox Media Group