CARLSTADT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Father’s Day came a little early this year for a New Jersey man and the daughter he never knew he had.
As CBS2’s Erin Logan reported, they met for the first time Sunday night after connecting on social media.
Before the meeting, a very nervous, anxious, excited Al Annunzuiata was getting ready Sunday for the special dinner he compared to “watching and waiting for your child to be born when your wife’s in the delivery room.”
He already knows “it’s a girl,” and her name is Jyll Justamond.
“It won’t hit me until I put my arms around her and give her a hug,” Annunzuiata said.
After 40 years, Annunzuiata was about to meet his daughter for the first time. But when she reached out on Facebook in April, he wasn’t surprised. Her first question was, “Are you Al? “
“Another message came in she said: ‘You might know my biological mother. Her name is Linda,’ and I said yeah,” Annunzuiata said, “and now I’m really scared — my heart is pounding.”
Annunzuiata said all Justamond had to go off was her mother met him in 1976 at a bar that no longer exists in Palisades Park, New Jersey. But she found him.
“I told her she’s just like me — she’s tenacious,” he said.
He said they took a paternity test and results came back, “and it was 99.9964 chance that I was her biological father.”
So for months now, he was thinking of the moment of meeting her nonstop.
Upon his first look at his daughter, Annunzuiata embraced her in a very long hug.
“It felt comfortable,” Justamond said. “It felt like I’ve known him forever, genuinely.”
“I’m a billionaire,” Annunzuiata said. “I’m more rich than Donald Trump.”
Like daddy like daughter, Justamond also had the same plan in mind on how she wanted to start off the night sharing memories of her first birthday — April 3, 1977.
She showed her father her first birthday card and then her first teddy bear. Then came her sweet 16 birthday card.
“I was kind of a mini version of him,” Justamond said “It’s a new beginning; a start of a new chapter. We’ve missed a lot.”
But they both agree, nothing will ever compare to Father’s Day 2017.
Justamond has a message for anyone who has a message for anyone having a hard time tracking down loved ones they know are out there – don’t give up. It’s all about timing.