Steve Jobs’ biological father was a Syrian immigrant named Abdulfattah John Jandali. In the days following Jobs resignation as the CEO of Apple, Jandali came forward and explained the impetus behind giving Jobs up for adoption.
The short of it is that Jandali’s girlfriend and Jobs’ biological mother Joanne Simpson had a family that wasn’t keen on the couple keeping and raising their then unborn child. This was in part due to cultural norms at the time as they couple wasn’t married and Jandali’s Syrian heritage played a factor in their unease as well. Indeed, the couple at the time were forbidden by Simpson’s father from marrying.
So Jobs was given up for adoption and the rest, as they say is history.
In late August, Jandali explained that he and Jobs had never met or spoken and that he would like to do. Jandali, however, wasn’t willing to call Jobs himself as his “Syrian pride” as he called it didn’t want Jobs to think that he was simply after his money.
But in a tale seemingly lifted out of a soap opera, Steve Jobs DID, in fact, meet his father. The rub is that Jobs’ father didn’t know, at the time of said meeting, that Steve Jobs was his son.
In a fascinating story, Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson recounted on 60 minutes how Jobs enlisted the help of his biological sister Mona Simpson – whom he had tracked down – to help find his biological father. It’s important to note here that Jandali abandoned Mona when she was 4 so that he could go run a refinery in Syria.
So Simpson was able to finally track down Jandali who at the time was running a restaurant in Sacramento. But Jobs didn’t want to accompany her to the restaurant to meet his biological father.
In a taped interview with Walter Isaacson, Jobs explains:
When I was looking for my biological mother, obviously, you know, I was looking for my biological father at the same time, and I learned a little bit about him and I didn’t like what I learned. I asked her to not tell him that we ever met…not tell him anything about me.
So Simpson trekked up to Sacramento alone to meet her biological father.
During the course of that encounter, Jandali boasted that he used to run one of the more popular restaurants in Silicon Valley, noting that even Steve Jobs used to eat there. But Jobs’ sister bit her tongue and didn’t say “Steve Jobs is your son.” She just looked shocked as Jandali explained, “Yeah, he was a great tipper.”
Well it turns out he managed or owned a restaurant and I was in that restaurant and I was in that restaurant once or twice, and I remember meeting the owner who was from Syria, and it was most certainly him and I shook his hand and he shook my hand and that was all.
Isaacson concludes, “And Jobs never spoke to him, never talked to him, never got in touch with him, never wanted to see him..” and there the interview cuts off