“We usually go to Europe,” Edward Waites mentioned within the four-second clip. “And we said, ‘You know what? Instead of the 14-hour flight, we’ll do the one-hour flight.’ ”
Randy Waites, 55, rapidly hit “pause” on the TV and took a photograph of the display screen. Then he referred to as in his youngsters, Cambria Waites, 17, and Dalton Waites, 13, who have been within the subsequent room.
“Hey, look at this,” Randy mentioned that afternoon, Dec. 22, as he pointed on the tv. “We have the same name. It’s probably a coincidence, but I wonder if there’s a family connection.”
Cambria instructed her dad that she thought the person regarded like him, particularly across the eyes.
“I said, ‘He has the same squint as you — I’ll bet you’re related,’ ” she recalled saying. “I told him I was going to go look online and see what I could find out about Edward Waites.”
About 15 or 20 minutes later, she returned and mentioned she believed the person on TV was presumably her father’s brother.
“I had to pick my jaw up off the floor,” Randy mentioned.
Randy had by no means recognized his father, Donald E. Waites, however he knew the identify from his start certificates. Now his daughter was telling him that her Internet sleuthing confirmed that Donald E. Waites was additionally the daddy of the person on the TV, Edward Waites.
Randy not solely by no means knew his father, however he’d by no means even seen a photograph of him. While doing a search a number of years in the past for him, he realized that his father had died in 2009, not lengthy earlier than the dying of his mom. But he didn’t examine sufficient to search out another family.
Randy was shocked to study this man might be his brother.
All Randy had recognized about his father was this: His mom and father have been a pair and dwelling in Santa Ana, Calif., however after he was born in 1966, his father left, his mom had instructed him.
“My dad left my mom when I was a few months old to marry someone else and start a new life,” Randy mentioned. “When I was growing up, I always wondered, ‘Where is my father and what is he like?’ I’d look in the mirror and say, ‘Who am I?’ ”
Because of a brief clip he’d seen by probability on the night information, he was about to be nearer to some solutions.
Randy’s youthful half sister, Nellie Summers, determined to do some detective work. She acquired assist from Cambria and Randy’s spouse, Sandi Waites. They tracked down Edward Waites at his residence in Anaheim, and Nellie Summers left him a telephone message on Jan. 6.
“Nellie said, ‘My brother, Randy Waites, saw you on the television news,’ ” Edward recalled. “Then she said, ‘To make a long story short, you’re related. The two of you are brothers.’ ”
Edward Waites mentioned he was surprised and confused.
“How it all came about is just a miracle,” mentioned Edward Waites, 54. “What are the odds?”
After speaking to one another over the telephone that day, the boys determined to satisfy. On Feb. 5, at Randy’s residence in Lodi, Calif., the brothers in contrast childhoods.
Edward introduced previous pictures of their father to indicate Randy. Randy pulled out the one photograph he had linking him to the Waites household: a snapshot of him together with his grandmother Marjorie Waites when she took him to a park when he was a couple of 12 months previous, one thing he mentioned occurred presumably just one time.
“When I grew older, my mom told me the woman in the photo was my grandmother,” he mentioned. “It’s the only memory I have of my father’s side of the family.”
Edward mentioned he instantly acknowledged his dad’s mom within the photograph.
“I knew that smile — it was the same smile she had when she held me,” Edward mentioned. “There was no question it was my grandmother Marjorie.”
He and Randy joked that the photograph ensured they did not must get DNA checks to show they have been brothers, he added.
“I’ve always wanted an older brother,” mentioned Edward, who works as a normal contractor and has two grown youngsters. He famous that he’s one 12 months and 4 days youthful than Randy.
“When we talked, it seemed so natural, I felt like I’d known him my whole life,” mentioned Randy, who works as an underground pipeline development foreman.
“We clicked immediately,” he mentioned.
“We both drive Harley-Davidsons, and we both love sourdough bread and fishing,” he mentioned. “Ed told me that our dad was a fisherman, so I knew it was in my blood.”
The two additionally came upon how completely different their childhoods had been.
While Edward’s rising up years in San Gabriel Valley have been filled with fishing and searching journeys together with his father, Randy’s childhood was tough but additionally full of affection, he mentioned.
“My mom was a motel maid and we didn’t have much money — we were always getting evicted,” Randy recalled, noting that a lot of his youth was spent in Anaheim and Buena Park, Calif., about 30 miles from the place Edward grew up and 6 miles from the place he lives now.
“We must have lived in 15 different apartments, but my mom did her best as a single mom,” he mentioned. “Our electricity was shut off sometimes, and I’d take a bath with candles.”
“I knew that I was loved, but it was hard to grow up as a boy without a dad,” he added. “I cried a lot, wondering why he never came back.”
Randy mentioned he dropped out of highschool in 10th grade and took a job at a scorching canine cafe, incomes $3.35 an hour and utilizing his paychecks to assist his mother with the payments.
“I worked there for a year, then became a security guard for $6 an hour,” he recalled, including that he later earned a GED.
“Eventually, I quit worrying about not having a dad and decided to live my own happy life,” he mentioned.
Donald Waites labored as a portray contractor and was a jovial man who liked nothing greater than sitting down for an enormous home-cooked dinner after a day on the lake, Edward mentioned. He died of coronary heart illness in 2009.
“My dad was my hero and was always there for me, so it was hard to learn what Randy had missed,” Edward mentioned. “It’s heartbreaking to know that growing up, he was never able to call anyone ‘Dad.’ ”
“I can’t imagine why my dad never mentioned he had another son,” he added. “Maybe when my mom became pregnant with me, he didn’t want to shake up the family. I told Randy, ‘For what it’s worth, I’d like to apologize for our dad.’ ”
No apology was obligatory, Randy assured him.
“I don’t blame anyone — I’m beyond that now,” he mentioned. “I’ve waited my whole life to know someone like Ed. Now I just want to be the best brother I can be. And I know he wants to do the same for me.”