Terrell Starr grew up in a rough neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan. He was raised by his grandmother, and his mom was in the military. He never knew his dad, who, it turns out, did not know of his existence.
Facebook changed all that when he logged on back in 2009. A random check of Chris Truesdale to see if his father was somewhere out in the world yielded the shocking realization that, indeed, there was such a person.
Appearing on the TODAY show on Friday, Starr told Willie Geist, “I didn’t believe that anyone would actually reply because I was just so used to being without him. I thought that I was going to live the remaining years of my life without knowing who my father was.”
In the meantime, his father had only purchased a computer two weeks before he saw Starr’s message. Truesdale logged on to his Facebook account at his home in the Bronx to a message from a stranger saying with the subject line “looking for a father.”
At the time, Starr was studying in the Ukraine on a Fulbright Scholarship. Truesdale knew right away that he had just met his 29-year-old son for the first time.
“When I saw the picture…oh yeah,’” Truesdale told Geist. “We don’t have to go to Maury (Povich).”
Starr said he still wonders how he was able to make it through his teen years with only his Grandmother to care for him.
“If I had to deal with gangs and fight my way to school, that’s what I had to do,” Starr said. “Sometimes I would come back to the house with cuts on my cheek from fighting, and she would simply say, ‘Did you get your shots in?’ I often wondered if, when things were really tough, if he knew I was here, would he come and get me?”
This is a heartwarming story, Starr overcame his unstable upbringing earning two masters degrees and the Fulbright scholarship. While still pursuing his masters in the Ukraine, the father and son connected via Skype and finally met in person in 2011.
Truesdale took in his son when he was struggling to find a job. “I’m not a guy that has children and don’t take care of them,” he said. “Shoot, I mean, had I known he was my child, he’d have been right there.”
Starr has moved out, but the pair talk on a daily basis, “I love him. We do grown adult things together, and he came at the perfect time in my life.”
Facebook for the greater good is the moral of the story. It can be a positive thing at times and it has been a much happier Father’s day for Terrell and Chris in the last few years.
[Image via Shutterstock]