Who’s Your Daddy truck owner Jared Rosenthal interviewed on CNN by Brooke Baldwin:
BROOKE BALDWIN: And so we were talking in the commercial break, you said this thing has been rolling around the streets of New York for a couple of years, but it was the change in branding that really created this uptick in interest. You started this. Why?
JARED ROSENTHAL: Well, Health Street is a drug testing and alcohol testing as well as a DNA testing company. So, we did mobile drug and alcohol testing, and originally the RV was painted up with that sort of messaging. That kind of made people run away. We’d pull up at a job site, we’d hear the tires screeching, people pulling out saying, I’m calling out sick today. We decided that DNA testing was a message that…we were getting a ton of calls about DNA testing from all over the country. It’s not just in New York. We have affiliated clinics nationwide. So, we wanted to put that message out there. Something about DNA testing, it’s almost like a silent need out there. People don’t talk about it a lot, but I can tell you firsthand, we have amazing stories.
BROOKE: Crazy stories! You have crazy stories, and I want to ask you about that in a second. But first, in terms of dollars and cents, for somewhere between 300 and 600 bucks, you can have one of these tests done. How exactly does it work. You come up to the bus, your cheek is swabbed….
JARED: Right, basically, it’s nothing more than a cheek swab, and some paperwork. We check photo ID. The RV is set up as a mobile office. So we have everything you would have in a clinic. Wifi, computers, printers… But the DNA test itself is very simple. A cheek swab that is then packaged up and sent to a professional laboratory where doctors analyze the results.
BROOKE: So, then, you offer either, Hey Dads, we can either send you the information, or we can roll up, find you, and give you the news. And you have all these stories. First, give me a good heartwarming story, of a dad who is saying, Hallelujah, this child is mine.
JARED: What people see on TV and in talk shows is really unusual compared to the vast majority of what we see at Health Street. The vast majority of dads that come to our office – sometimes they are literally changing diapers of the baby in the office. And they’re hoping and preying that this child, who they love, is theirs. And those are always heartwarming, especially if the child already has their last name, let’s say if the parents are not married, but they’ve given the child the last name of this father, they take the test…but sometimes it doesn’t work out.
BROOKE: I imagine the reverse happens as well where the father is under the assumption that a child is his because the mother says so, and it isn’t.
JARED: It happens.
BROOKE: How many tears have you seen in the Who’s Your Daddy truck?
JARED: Quite a bit. There are some devastating moments both in the clinic, on the phone, as well as out in the RV. And, it’s not just paternity that we test for. There’s all kinds of relationships. We had a phone call just today from a 30 year old woman who had been looking for her father her whole life. And he contacted her and she wanted to let us know that people don’t realize how available this type of testing is. We do it by being out in the street, making it more available, accessible for folks. And yeah, it’s probably only a click away on Google, but when they see the RV, they come up to us and then they start to tell us –
BROOKE: It brings it home. It brings it home.
BROOKE: You bring up the TV shows, so I just have to go there. There are all kinds of comparisons with the Who’s Your Daddy, is this my daddy, Maury Povich, let’s roll this:
PASSERBY 1: It’s probably gonna help a lot of people out there, they don’t have to go to Maury.
PASSERBY 2: This is crazy! This is better than Maury. Maury is about to go out of business!!
BROOKE: They’re laughing. Critics aren’t laughing. They say you’re cashing in on paternity. This is just a joke. You say what:
JARED: Well, it’s not just paternity, and the Who’s Your Daddy slogan is more like an icebreaker. It makes people laugh. It’s just like if you met someone for the first time, usually a joke opens things up, and then they start to tell us the reality of it, and like I said, it’s a silent need. People don’t know, or realize, just how big of a need there is for DNA tests.
BROOKE: Did you not know who your father is? Why this idea for you? Is it personal.
JARED: No, it’s not personal. It’s not personal but obviously everybody’s family relationships are among the most important relationships you have in your life. We tested one person, this is just an incredible story, her parents were separated, she travelled between two different states to be with her father and her mother. And she found out that not just her father was not related to her, but she had 3 half sisters on that side, aunts, uncles…
BROOKE: She discovered a family she never knew she had. Quickly can I just ask you what I asked you in the commercial break. I asked if he got phone calls from reality tv, and you said.
JARED: Ahhh, the phone is ringing off the hook. People are interested in this sort of thing. And what we’re hoping to do is break down the preconceived notions that people have about DNA testing. It’s not just people fighting, that almost never happens. In fact, recently we had a mother come in with both of the possible fathers, and the child, these were the happiest customers we ever had, there was no animosity whatsoever.
BROOKE: You could keep going on with the stories! I’ll make sure I tweet out a link in case anyone wants to know more about what’s going on with this bus.