Brothers On Vacation in Hawaii Meet....for the First Time
April 28, 2011 9:58 AM   Subscribe

Rick Hill was vacationing in Hawaii. So was Joe Parker. The two lived within one town of each other in Massachusetts, but discovered on that Hawaiian beach, when Joe offered to take a picture of Rick with his fiancee, that they have the same father.
posted by zizzle (32 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. That is a remarkable story.
posted by jbickers at 10:10 AM on April 28, 2011

Neat story. Too bad their father did not live long enough to see them meet. To me, the amazing part of the story is the incredible odds against that happening in such a random way so far from where they were both born. Meeting on a beach in Cape Cod would have been amazing, doing it by chance in Hawaii is even more so.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:11 AM on April 28, 2011

"Rick meets a long lost brother, far away from home,, next time on One Life To... oh, we canceled that? This is real life? Wow!"
posted by kmz at 10:14 AM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

My favorite part of this story is imagining the guy taking a picture and saying "OK, now say... Lehminstah!"
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:15 AM on April 28, 2011 [18 favorites]

Pretty cool indeed. Glad they found each other. I found out I was adopted when I was 19. Found my birth mom at 25 and found out I have a 1/2 brother. The conversation with my birth mom went like this:

(after telling her who I was, having some small talk because who really does know what to say)

"Did they tell you, that you have a 1/2 brother?"


"Well you do. He's 5 years older. But he's also currently in the hospital after being shot by a patient."

What do you say to "you have a brother but he may die" for the first time?

Strange world we live in.
posted by stormpooper at 10:19 AM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, whoops!

In my excitement I got one of the details wrong. Joe lives and works in Hawaii. Wanted to correct my error for posterity.
posted by zizzle at 10:24 AM on April 28, 2011

I started working on my family tree over 5 years ago. A few days after I told my brother I was working on it, he did some fairly basic searches for some information about which he was always curious.

For example: Our grandfather had a brother that we'd only met as children. A family feud had long ago separated the two. So, my brother went looking for information on our Uncle George. Turns out, he had a full life, and had only died relatively recently. The kicker was the obituary my brother found. We both read it agape, having no idea that he had figured so prominently in our nation's history. The kicker was at the bottom, in the "survived by" section. Turns out one of his sons lives...5 blocks away from me.

I emailed him, and then couldn't stand it, and found his phone number and called him up. "I think we're related," I said to him, and he said: "You know, I think you're right."

My aunt came to visit us a few weeks later, and we all met up. As first cousins, they hadn't seen each other in over 40 years. Here's a picture of the 3 of us.
posted by thanotopsis at 10:32 AM on April 28, 2011 [8 favorites]

I found out I was adopted when I was 19.

And you don't remember it?
posted by hal9k at 10:32 AM on April 28, 2011 [9 favorites]

That is crazy.

Somehow, the fact the their father was a tough, larger-than-life, long-haul trucker seems to makes sense in my mind that he couldn't seem to maintain relationships with the women in his life.
posted by maryr at 10:48 AM on April 28, 2011

posted by chococat at 10:50 AM on April 28, 2011 [7 favorites]

''With a large enough sample, any outrageous thing is apt to happen.''

Go ahead and tell me what the shockingly low odds are that someone on vacation in Hawaii would accidentally meet his half-brother there for the first time. I'm prepared to wait, in the event that you have to volunteer at the Center for People Who Tell Stranger's Kids There is No Santa (or whatever the local variant is called).
posted by 23skidoo at 11:02 AM on April 28, 2011

This was so perfectly heartwarming & exactly what I needed to cheer me up today.
posted by PepperMax at 11:16 AM on April 28, 2011

Kids, here is more evidence for why you should always talk to strangers.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 11:20 AM on April 28, 2011 [5 favorites]

This reminds me of Eric Clapton finding out about his biological dad. His mother was a 16-year-old English girl and his father was a married Canadian soldier. Maybe 15 years or so ago he found out he had Canadian half-siblings. Apparently he inherited both his musical ability and his substance abuse tendencies from his father, as he had a half brother who was also extremely gifted musically and an alcoholic.
posted by orange swan at 11:20 AM on April 28, 2011

What are the odds! I listened to this episode of RadioLab yesterday!
posted by Green With You at 11:22 AM on April 28, 2011

Million to one chance!
posted by kmz at 11:40 AM on April 28, 2011

Small world. Makes you wonder how many long-lost half-siblings or other relatives pass each other unnoticed in the street, or even talk briefly, without ever discovering the relationship.

Maybe a decade ago, I was introduced to someone by a mutual friend in a store. I talked to this guy for a bit. After some time, he said, "Okay, it is driving me crazy -- where have we met before?"

I was surprised by this, as I did not think we had met. "We have met before?"

He insisted that we had, and that I seemed very familiar, but he could not recollect where our paths might have crossed. I did not recall meeting him, but we compared biographies. We had not gone to school together, had not worked together, he had not been a customer at the movie theatre where I had worked or seen any band I had played in, he had never worked in customer service so he could not have recalled me as a customer in some place he worked... it stayed a mystery, but he maintained we had met somewhere.

Fast-forward a year. I have become friends with this guy without us ever solving where he knew me from. A minor Biscuit family secret comes to light: when my aunt was a teenager, she had become pregnant and had given up her son for adoption. After three decades, her biological son had sought her out and they were now in touch with each other. She mentioned that he had sent her a lengthy e-mail talking about his childhood and he mentioned a time at the beach when one of his two younger brothers had slipped and cut his chin open on a rock... the last name of his adoptive family was strangely familiar and when he mentioned his brothers, that clinched it.

I called up my friend and asked him, "Hey, when you were a kid, did you fall at the beach and slice your chin open on a rock? You had to go to the hospital for stitches?"

He replied cautiously, "Yeah... wait, how did you know that?" The couple who would later be his parents had been the adoptive parents of my biological cousin, so my friend had grown up in a house with someone who looked and talked like me. Based on that alone, I struck him as familiar when we first met.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:23 PM on April 28, 2011 [25 favorites]

Oh, this is so Hawaii!

One of the things out here is that many conversations with strangers begin with "where'd you go to high school," as a way of determining whether you have mutual friends or are, in fact, related. Family history is also frequently discussed. Its informal and you're just as likely to not have that particular conversation as to have it, but I can't tell you how many times I've walked away from meeting somebody for the first time with a message of greeting for somebody that I see all the time.

Obviously, this could happen anywhere, but part of what made me smile when reading this story was how local it felt. Glad these guys found each other!
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:14 PM on April 28, 2011

> "OK, now say... Lehminstah!"

Oh no, not another place that Americans don't know how to pronounce ...
(hint: rhymes with phlegmster)
posted by scruss at 1:17 PM on April 28, 2011

Gee, and here I thought it was weird enough the last time I went to Hawaii when I went into a restaurant and found out that the guy running the place was from my hometown and was all, "Go Cowboys!" (high school mascot) at me.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:18 PM on April 28, 2011

@halk. No I don't. My adopted parents lied and played it off that I was their own until I snooped, asked too many questions, heard rumors. The confirmation of me being adopted was when I was 19 and having a big blow out fight with my mom and I said 'Yea well I bet I'm adopted anyway." And she goes "yea you are".

So it goes. Things were different in the 70s/80s and when you have very dysfunctional parents, that's how you find out you were adopted and everyone in the family keeps it a secret.

Plus you can see a resemblence to my adopted mom. But when I saw a pic/met my birth mom--absolutely no doubt. We look like twins.
posted by stormpooper at 1:31 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I saw this on the local news. The video segment is here.
posted by ericb at 1:38 PM on April 28, 2011

Couple Recalls Disney Meeting As Children [w/ video]
Alex and Donna Voutsinas are like many couples; they met at work, fell in love and got engaged.
Days before their wedding, the couple was looking at old family photos when Donna came across a picture of herself as a child on vacation at Disney and showed it to her fiancé.

But Alex was more interested in the man walking in the background behind Donna’s smiling family and the character Mr. Smee from Disney's "Peter Pan."
Alex recognized the man in the background because it was his father, who was pushing a stroller during their own family trip to Disney.

Decades before they met as adults, the couple had crossed paths at Disney as kids.

“Just to be in the same picture with my wife when we were basically toddlers, it’s unbelievable,” Alex Voutsinas said.

The encounter is more unbelievable because the two families lived countries apart. At the time the photo was taken, Donna's family was living in Florida and Alex's family called Montreal home.

“I was glad he proposed before the picture,” Donna said, “because I know that it’s because he loves me and not because he thought it was meant to be, it was fate.”
Previous FPP: It's a small world after all.
posted by ericb at 1:54 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Joey Michaels, what year you grad?
posted by Tacodog at 2:16 PM on April 28, 2011

'85. Why, you?
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:36 PM on April 28, 2011

@halk. No I don't

stormpooper, I think you missed the bit of tongue-in-cheek there. Your wording made it sound like you were adopted at 19. You obviously weren't.
posted by sunshinesky at 6:16 PM on April 28, 2011

Joey Michaels, just fooling with ya. That's question is like the second thing us local (and in my case, former-local) folks ask and you have passed. '89 for me.
posted by Tacodog at 12:00 AM on April 29, 2011

(hint: rhymes with phlegmster)

In Massachusetts, no sir.
posted by zvs at 12:29 AM on April 29, 2011

@sunshinesky. Welcome to the world of wicked PMS. Sense of humor leaves as estrogen rises.
posted by stormpooper at 6:12 AM on April 29, 2011

Two weeks ago I was (1000 miles away) in Nashville visiting family. Randomly met a lady who works with one of my sisters who is from a small town right next to where I live. All she wanted to talk about was how she wished I could have brought some Michelob Golden Draft down as it isn't available outside the upper midwest (who knew). I guess crappy larger inspires people.
posted by edgeways at 9:40 AM on April 29, 2011

Leominster is more of a "lemon-stir" sound, to my non-native ears. If you pronounce the R, that is.
posted by maryr at 5:34 PM on April 29, 2011

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