Kelowna woman discovers her long lost father is an Elvis impersonator living in Thailand
KELOWNA — When Melonie Dodaro bravely hit the “upload” button, she didn’t know how people would respond to her Facebook video or if she’d finally find the answer she was looking for.
In it, she describes what little she knows of her biological father — a Dutch man named Kees de Jong, who visited Toronto in 1968 — hoping someone can put the pieces together and help find him.
“This was really personal and it was really hard for me to post it, because it’s being very vulnerable and exposing a part of my life that I don’t often talk about,” says Dodaro.
Her video got shared nearly 700 times, garnering more than 26,800 views.
Thanks to the assistance of the Facebook community and a Dutch journalist, Dodaro got to connect with her long-lost father 72 hours later.
“I was shaking, vibrating and sweating. I was happy, it was so many years of curiosity coming into play,” says Dodaro.
Dodaro talked to her father on the phone for the first time on Monday.
“He started the phone call saying ‘Hi Melonie, it’s Colin, your daddy.’ And then I laughed and said ‘Hi daddy” — those were our first words to each other.”
It turns out, de Jong is now an Elvis impersonator, living in Thailand.
Dodaro learned that her father tried looking for her in the past but to no avail because her mother changed her maiden name.
Her husband says this three days has been life changing.
“She’s happier than I’ve seen her for a long time. I can only imagine what it’s like for her. This one of the most amazing experiences in the world,” says Phil Viggiani.
In addition to finding her father, Dodaro also gained a number of other siblings.
“Literally, my family grew by three times overnight. I’m pretty pumped about that,” she says.
The father and daughter duo will meet for the first time later this year.