Those familiar with Steve Jobs’ life story know that Jobs was adopted as a child and has never met his birth parents. It’s also well known that Jobs’ biological father is of Syrian descent.
In the wake of Jobs’ resignation, new details surrounding Jobs’ adoption, the reasons behind it, and the man who is Jobs’ biological father have begun to emerge.
Over the past few days, we’ve learned that Jobs’ father is an 80 year old Syrian immigrant named Abdulfattah John Jandali who currently serves as the VP of Boomtown Casino and Hotel in Reno, Nevada.
In a recent string of interviews, Jandali explains the circumstances surrounding his decision to give up a young Steve Jobs for adoption.
In 1955, Jandali’s then-girlfriend Joanne Simpson became pregnant with Jobs. Due to the cultural norms of the time, not to mention Simpson’s opposition to the relationship on account of Jandali’s ethnicity, the couple decided to give Jobs up for adoption. It wasn’t an easy decision for the couple, and Jandali even went so far as to propose to Simpson to spare the couple the shame of having a baby out of wedlock. Simpson’s father, however, vehemently opposed his daughter marrying a Syrian.
Recounting the tension at the time, Jandali explained: “”Her father was a tyrant, and forbade her to marry me, as I was from Syria.”
So in 1955, Simpson travelled to San Francisco, without telling Jandali, where she birthed Steve Jobs who was subsequently adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs. At the time, the Jobs’ lived in Mountain View, California, which you may now recognize as the home of Google.
Simpson’s father died a few months later which enabled Jandali and Simpson to reunite. Of course by that time, the adoption was already finalized and there was nothing the couple could do. Since then, the couple went on to have more children that they were able to raise themselves.
Looking back on the events that transpired, Jandali expresses regret for giving up his son for adoption.
“I honestly do not know to this day if Steve is aware of the fact that had it been my choice, I would have loved to have kept him.”
Jandali clarifies that he and Steve have never met or spoken, though he would like to change that if possible – assuming of course that Jobs himself is the one who reaches out.
“I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t sadden me to have not been part of my son’s incredible journey,” Jandali further added. “What father wouldn’t think that? And I would think that even if he was not the head of a hugely successful company. Now I just live in hope that, before it is too late, he will reach out to me, because even to have just one coffee with him just once would make me a very happy man.”
The two, however, have corresponded with each other briefly via email over the past few years. Jandali explains that he wasn’t even aware that his son was Steve Jobs until a few years ago.
“This might sound strange, though, but I am not prepared, even if either of us was on our deathbeds, to pick up the phone to call him,” Jandali explained. “Steve will have to do that, as the Syrian pride in me does not want him ever to think I am after his fortune.”
“Now I just live in hope that, before it is too late, he will reach out to me, because even to have just one coffee with him just once would make me a very happy man. Because I really am not his dad. Mr. and Mrs. Jobs are, as they raised him. And I don’t want to take their place. I just would like to get to know this amazing man I helped in a very small way to produce.”