Arizona woman reunites with stranger she accidentally invited for Thanksgiving

Nov 26, 2018

A text sent to the wrong person back in 2016 has turned into a Thanksgiving tradition celebrated for the third time in a row at the home of Wanda Dench.

The Arizona grandma had sent an invitation text to then-17-year-old Jamal Hinton three years ago, thinking it was her grandson. But she had sent it to the wrong person, as her grandson had recently changed his number.

When she sent a photo of herself just to confirm, Hinton responded, “You not my grandma,” before charmingly adding, “Can I still get a plate tho?”

Of course, Wanda, hospitable grandma that she was, would never turn away a perfect stranger from her table. Thus, an unexpected friendship was born—and the Thanksgiving tradition has continued, with Hinton accepting a second invite in 2017 (along with his girlfriend), and a third one this year.

The sweet friendship that bloomed between them has also inspired a wider audience thanks to social media, with Thanksgiving dinner photos going viral online each year.

“2016, 2017…… 2018 ❤,” Jamal commented in a selfie post with his hostess, Wanda—now something of a Thanksgiving tradition for them.

Little did both strangers (at the time) know, back in 2016, that they would grow to become like family. They have stayed in contact during other occasions during the year besides Thanksgiving.

“She sent me a couple gifts cards for Christmas,” said Jamal last year. “She also talked to me around my high school graduation, and we’ve been keeping in touch here and there.”

The accidental strangers both say that the experience has had a positive impact on them.

“I just clicked when I met him and first talked to him,” Wanda had told NBC back in 2016. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to get to know this guy.’

“It gives me faith, a lot, in humanity because so many people have been kind.” Last year, she told the Arizona Republic, “For him to continue with the relationship, I’m just really pleasantly surprised. We’re more of extended family and, best of all, friends.”

The sentiment is mutual, according to Jamal, confirming our suspicion that, deep down, people are all the same and all loving. “It was important for me to stay connected with this family, because they are like my family,” Jamal had told CBS News. “It’s kinda good to see that there are still good people out there.”


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