WHAT'S WORKING: Facebook unites Westwood family after 40 years of searching

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Westwood native Robert Spearmint searched for his brothers and sisters for 40 years. He first learned about them when he was 11 years old. He pledged to spend the rest of his life finding them. This week he fulfilled that promise.

On Wednesday night, Spearmint enjoyed an evening outside of his home playing the game cornhole with his relatives. However, playing on his computer isn't a game. It's how he found his family.

He didn't grow up with his siblings, but when he heard he had some he spent decades looking for them. He searched Chicago. Spearmint was told that is the city where his father last lived.

"I was using the phone book," said Spearmint. "I went to Chicago. There were two or three Spearmints in the phone book. They said they were not kin to me. Whatever. I was getting frustrated."

Then his wife Betty had an idea.

"All of a sudden, my wife said, 'I'ma put you on Facebook," said Spearmint. "I'm old school. I'm not on Facebook! I'm not for it, but I let her do it. She put me on there, and bam! That's what did it!"

His daughters set up his page, and then did some digging on their own.

"So I was just curious one day," said Claudia Spearmint, Robert's daughter. "I typed in Spearmint. Seen a lot of Spearmints come up. I know this one which one was Rodney. We had a mutual friend."

And a mutual story. Their father seemed to be the same man.

To confirm the relationship, Rodney gave Robert's daughter a question for him: what was their dad's middle name?

"He said, 'ask your father is his name Sterling?'" said Spearmint. "And then when he said that, I knew. I knew right away, right there, that I had found my brothers and sisters."

Rodney introduced Robert to four other sisters who had found each other years ago. Three of them drove to Cincinnati from Cleveland to meet their brother on Sunday. On Wednesday night, the fourth sister Robin Spearmint Young drove in from Atlanta.

"I just think God does things in His own time," said Young. "So it's a good thing that we waited."

Rodney is set to drive in on Friday. Meantime, the family is celebrating all week with trips to Kings Island and cook-outs

"Now I have somebody older than him telling me what to do already," said Miriam Scott, Spearmint's baby sister. "It's a lot of fun. We're watching movies, and he's squirting me with a water gun at two o'clock in the morning, and chasing me, and he's dancing like Michael Jackson. And then Michelle gets up and dances with him. It's amazing. These last few days have been incredible."

Still, there's one more void the family is looking to fill; They're looking for their oldest brother Michael Spearmint.

"If you're Michael Spearmint," said Scott. "We're looking for you.

"He'll be about 61 or 62," laughed Spearmint. "I hope you ain't mad, brother if you heard that!"

The family may be unsure about the whereabouts of their older brother, but they know one thing: "This will make me keep my Facebook page," smiled Robin Spearmint.

If you have a story of a person or program that's working in your neighborhood, email Kimberly Holmes Wiggins at: kholmes@fox19.com or leave a message on her Facebook Page (Kimberly Holmes wxix)