‘Who’s Your Daddy?’ DNA Testing Truck Comes to Downtown Boston
Boston is known for it’s mobile trucks—mostly of the food variety—but a new four-wheeled vehicle rolled Downtown on Friday, and it had crowds of people stopping in their tracks to take photos.
Parked along the corner of Summer and Otis Streets, the “Who’s Your Daddy” paternity testing truck, which takes swabs and samples on the spot, caused quite the stir. “Today was insane, there must’ve been a thousand pictures people were taking,” says Jared Rosenthal, owner and operator of the truck, and employee of the company that runs it, Health Street. “We are looking to expand services here. We have clinics in the area, but this is the first time we have really had the truck [in the city].”
Health Street, a New York-based company that works with third-party establishments in other cities, offers professional drug, DNA, paternity, and alcohol tests, along with drug screening through hair and urine to individuals and companies. The tests range in price from $299 to $2,000, and Rosenthal says a majority of the services are conducted on the spot, as the RV acts as an office on-the-go. But the company also makes house and business calls, too. “We have all the facilities on board the RV, there’s not that much to it. A swab and some paperwork and then they send it off to get results, which can take up to a week,” says Rosenthal.
He says the truck, in particular, serves as a starting point to let people know that the services are available, and the catchy “Who’s Your Daddy?” slogan is what grabs peoples’ attention. “[We did it] as a funny thing … and it has been insane ever since,” he says. “At one point today, people were waiting in line to take pictures. They love the artwork.” He claims a bus driver even stopped on his route to run back to the truck and get a flier.
According to Rosenthal, that’s the point, though. “The RV is an ice breaker. It gets people laughing and breaks the ice. And then the people who really need the services talk to us and tell us their stories. It’s incredible how long people have been holding these stories in about a child, or a relative that they just don’t know and they want to know. Something about seeing this big RV painted up and not making it taboo—it really breaks the ice and brings out that questions and makes the services to it more accessible,” he says.
Rosenthal has plans to possibly hire someone more permanent to cruise the Boston area more frequently, adding that this is just the second time he has been here to offer his services.
But it’s not always about pictures and happiness when it comes to the RV. Rosenthal says that the thought of getting a DNA test might be scary to some people, and it brings out a lot of emotions during the process. “There are a lot of tragic moments, but also a lot of tremendous moments as well. Something about the RV they come inside and they have the privacy, so they really open up. People then begin to tell us their whole story, and tell us things they might not even tell their own spouse. Because of that, a few days later, it becomes very personal and we get to experience the joy and relief they feel as well,” he says.