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Best Friends of More Than 60 Years Learn They Are Brothers: ‘I Broke Down’

Walter Macfarlane and Alan Robinson have been best friends for more than 60 years. Born in Honolulu just 15 months apart, they met in sixth grade, played high-school football together and shared a unique bond. Macfarlane, 74, never knew his father, and Robinson, 72, was adopted as a newborn.

Both men spent years searching online for answers before turning to the genealogy and family-matching website The top match for Macfarlane’s DNA turned out to be a user named Robi737, whose “X” chromosomes appeared to be identical to those of Macfarlane. Robi737 was none other than Robinson, who flew 737 planes as a pilot for Aloha Airlines. 

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“It was an overwhelming experience, it’s still overwhelming. I don’t know how long it is going to take for me to get over this feeling,” Robinson told local new station KHON on December 24. Though the childhood buddies shared physical similarities (hairy forearms!) and considered each other family, it never occurred to them that they came from the same mother. 

Walter Macfarlane and Alan Robinson
Walter Macfarlane and Alan Robinson

Macfarlane and Robinson announced to the surprise to their extended family at Christmas party on December 23. 

“Normally I don’t cry easily, but I broke down in front of everyone, the emotions were so strong,” Robinson told CNN on Wednesday, December 27. Robinson and Macfarlane weren’t the only ones who got choked up. Macfarlane’s daughter Cindy grew up calling Robinson “Uncle Alan.” 

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“It’s a Christmas miracle,” Cindy told CNN. “And the coolest part is that we don’t have to meet him and learn about his life, because Uncle Alan is someone we already love and admire and have looked up to our whole lives.”

Robinson’s wife, Eva, echoed the sentiment. “if you could pick a family, I think he would have picked the Macfarlane as family,” she said. “That’s who much we liked them. Our children are all Facebook friends and it’s so wonderful to see the relationships growing. You can tell the families are intertwined now.”