WALDOBORO, Maine — For weeks, Randy Joubert and Gary Nisbet laughed off customers’ comments that the two furniture deliverymen looked similar enough to be brothers.
It wouldn’t be long before fate would prove the old adage, the customer is always right.
Joubert said something in him clicked after yet another customer asked the same question during a routine delivery in late August.
Prefacing his line of questioning with the statement, “Don’t think I’m weird,” Joubert asked his co-worker a few pointed questions based on names and dates gleaned from his own adoption records.
Seconds later, Joubert realized that the man who had been on the other end of countless couches, mattresses and recliners since July wasn’t just a co-worker. Nisbet was the long-lost brother for whom he had been searching.
“I said, ‘Gary, do you understand what I am telling you? We are brothers,’” Joubert, 36, recalled Friday. “I think I kept saying that. We had a few more deliveries and it was just the Twilight Zone.”
“I went home and I just dropped,” said Nisbet, 35. “I thought, ‘I think I have a brother.’”
It’s a story that seems too perfect even for a movie: Two brothers, born a year apart, grow up in adoptive families in neighboring towns and attending rival schools. As adults, each lives in Waldoboro but spends 35 years not knowing about the other’s existence.
Then they end up not only working for the same small business, in this case Dow Furniture in Waldoboro, but also riding together in the same delivery truck day after day.
Yet somehow, their amazing story doesn’t end there.
On Thursday, a teary-eyed woman from nearby Warren showed up at the furniture gallery claiming to be their half-sister — and she had the birth certificate and other paperwork to prove it.
Joubert said there is only one explanation: fate.
“It has to be,” he said Friday. “All of these things had to happen” to bring the group together.
“I’m really awestruck,” said Joanne Campbell, who was born to the same mother five and six years before the two men. “After all of these years, here I am 41 and now I finally found my brothers.”
This undeniably happy story had a tragic beginning, however.
All three siblings — as well as a fourth sister, according to Campbell — ended up in foster care and eventually adoptive families after being taken by the state from their mother.
Joubert said he learned from state records that one of his grandfathers had rushed him at age 2 months to a doctor after finding him severely malnourished. Campbell said that, unlike Joubert and Nisbet, she actually knew her mother, who died in the mid-1990s, but that she never developed a relationship with her because of the past problems.
Joubert was able to gain access to his adoption records through a fairly new state law, one that coincidentally was supported by his boss at the furniture store, former state Sen. Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro.
It was in those records that he found the names of his biological mother and father, Wilfred and Joan Pomroy. But it wasn’t until he asked state officials for more information that he learned he had a younger brother from the same parents, both of whom are now deceased.
“I thought, how in the world am I going to search for this guy? He is going to have a different [last] name, like me,” he said.
Little did Joubert know, his little brother was also going by a different first name. Nisbet’s given name on his birth certificate is Gaylord.
Nisbet, meanwhile, previously had learned the names of his birth parents after petitioning the court for his records but didn’t know about a brother.
The two men began working together in July when Joubert was hired at the place where Nisbet has worked for seven years.
In retrospect, both men acknowledge that the thought of their being related crossed their minds at least once. Joubert said he even mentioned it to his girlfriend after his first day on the job.
As the siblings sat together on a showroom couch, it’s easy to see why customers thought they were related. Both men are stocky and on the shorter side with eerily similar faces. On Friday, they were also both sporting hats, similar styles of eyeglasses and goatees.
Joubert is undoubtedly the more talkative of the pair. When asked for his initial reaction to the news that he had a brother, Nisbet simply replied, “Blown away.”
But both men said the realization has dramatically changed their lives.
It has also garnered them significant attention. In addition to local media coverage, the two men are scheduled to fly to New York City this weekend to be featured on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday.
Several of their co-workers at Dow Furniture said it couldn’t happen to two nicer guys. There were plenty of tears of joy shed the other day when they broke the astounding news to their colleagues, and emotions are still running high.
“It’s improved the work environment to have such a wonderful thing happening,” said co-worker Sonia Bates.