Thanksgiving is a memorable holiday. Everyone gathers up as a family to cook, bless the food and enjoy each other. The Thanksgiving table has food like turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. It is a great day to have family and friends come together to have a traditional meal together. You invite people you are close to celebrating this holiday.
However, what if you accidentally send an invite to a random stranger to join your Thanksgiving dinner? Would it be okay if they joined you?
Well, you may not like the idea of a stranger joining you for an occasion like this. However, the Thanksgiving holiday can provide the perfect stage to bring everyone together if you think about it. It is a way to put your differences aside and join at one table.
The story of Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench is the perfect example of such an instance.
It started as an accidental text message and has turned into a long-lasting friendship.
Back n 2016, Jamal Hinton (17-years-old at the time) received a text from an unknown number. The text was an invitation to a family Thanksgiving dinner.
The Arizona teen was confused by the text but figured out it was from the wrong number. This text was from a woman named Wanda Densch. She wanted to invite her grandson and his girlfriend to the thanksgiving dinner at her place. Dench thought she had texted her grandson, who had recently changed his phone number. Instead, her text mistakenly went to Jamal.
The text read ”Thanksgiving dinner at my house on Nov.24 at 3.00 p.m. Let me know if you are coming. Hope to see you all.”
As you can imagine, Jamal was confused. However, he responded, wondering who it was inviting him. He got a reply that read ‘Your grandma.’ At first, Jamal thought it was his grandma inviting him to Thanksgiving at her place.
Jamal then asked for a photo to confirm if it was his actual grandmother sending the texts.
A selfie came in of a woman with blonde hair and glasses. It was undoubtedly not Jamal’s grandma. Jamal found this situation hilarious. He went on to respond, “You are not my grandma,” adding a laughing emoji along with the text. Jamal thought that it was better not to confuse this poor grandma. So he sent back a selfie to let her know he was not her grandson.
However, Jamal still wanted to know if the invite to Thanksgiving still stands. So he asked, ‘Can I still have a plate?”
Even though it was a mistake, Dench was glad to save a seat at the dinner table for Jamal. Jamal happily agreed to join Dench at the Thanksgiving dinner.
“That’s what grandmas do … feed everyone,” Dench explained.
Once Jamal accepted the invitation, Dench asked him for a favor. According to The Arizona Republic, Dench tasked Jamal with bringing a pumpkin pie to the dinner.
On the 24th, Jamal attended the Thanksgiving celebration at the Dench household. Jamal praised the kindly grandmother for letting him join in.
“She welcomed me into her house,” Jamal Hinton told ABC15 Arizona in Mesa. He said that it shows how kind and great she was as a person. Jamal added that he felt grateful for people like that.”
Jamal shared the sweet encounter on his Twitter page. Jamal had a great time at the thanksgiving dinner with the Dench family.
Later, Jamal posted a Thanksgiving day picture of him and Dench on his Twitter page.
Initially, Dench had doubts that Jamal would not enjoy the dinner because of her poor cooking skills. She explained to The Arizona Republic before their first dinner.
Years passed, and the friendship and the tradition are still going strong. Jamal still joins Dench for Thanksgiving dinner. For him to continue with the relationship, I’m just really pleasantly surprised,” Dench told the Republic in 2017. She said that they are more of an extended family and great friends.
In 2018 Jamal reunited with Dench for Thanksgiving again. He also tweeted that his new Turkey Day tradition continues.
Dench has also named Jamal as her’ honorary grandson.’ In an interview with the Arizona Republic, Dench explained that having everybody at the thanksgiving dinner was lovely. They had a great time and got to laugh about how it all started with the text mix-up. Jamal enjoyed the dinner as well. In a 2017 interview, he said that the world is becoming a better place than it used to be. He also said that even with racial comments that were going around, it feels good to remember the Thanksgiving traditions. Jamal expressed that it was refreshing to see there are still good people.
Recently they celebrated their fifth Thanksgiving dinner together. Unfortunately, this time one family member was absent. It was their first Thanksgiving dinner without her husband, who died due to COVID-19.
Dench initially thought of not celebrating Thanksgiving without her husband of 43 years. However, later she decided it was essential to do so.
I can’t even explain how much joy I had, having good food with my favorite company. We laughed, we had a great time, we reminisced. It was so good for all of us,” she said.
This lovely grandma gave her new ‘grandson’ an open invitation for all future Thanksgiving at her house. They hope to continue this sweet tradition.
This is Justin, the real grandson, and his girlfriend Amanda
And Jamal actually went to the dinner
And Jamal actually went to go grab that plate
Three years later, Hinton and Dench still have family time together. Hinton posted their annual picture together this year with the caption: “2016, 2017…… 2018,” adding that he promised to post a video he filmed with Dench and her husband on Friday.