Grandma Who Accidentally Invited Stranger To Thanksgiving Shares Fourth Holiday With Him
Across the US, families will gather on Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving. So too will Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench, who have become a family of sorts since they first met by random chance four years ago.
It all started with an errant text from Ms Dench, inviting Mr Hinton around for Thanksgiving dinner in 2016. After he asked who the invite was from, Ms Dench replied: "Your grandma."
Surprised that his grandma had learned to text, Mr Hinton - a 17-year-old student at the time - asked if she would send over a picture and Ms Dench duly obliged, revealing she was not his grandma at all.
Mr Hinton then sent a selfie in return, confirming she had got the wrong number, but when he jokingly asked if he could 'get a plate' anyway, Ms Dench replied: "Of course you can. That's what grandmas do, feed everyone."
Mr Hinton shared screenshots of their amusing and heartwarming exchange on Twitter and they went viral, receiving 128,000 likes. But what started as just a pleasant little interaction between two strangers has since blossomed into much more.
As chance would have it, the pair live in the neighbouring Arizona cities of Phoenix and Mesa, so it was easy enough for Mr Hinton to take Ms Dench up on her offer. Now the pair are due to share Thanksgiving for the fourth successive year.
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2016, 2017...... 2018 :heart: pic.twitter.com/0ZNA54uGAS
- Jamal Hinton (@kingjamal08) November 23, 2018
Last year, Mr Hinton even brought his girlfriend Mikaela along to spend the day with Ms Dench and her husband Lonnie, and it's gotten to the point now where Mr Hinton can't wait to catch up with his adopted grandma.
Speaking to TIME, he said: "She's a great cook and she's a great person to just hang out with.
"We don't watch TV or anything. We just sit at the table for a couple of hours and talk the whole time and tell stories and see how we've been.
"Time kind of just flies, we don't even realise how long we've been there. They're really good company."
Ms Dench's welcoming attitude was on full display in a video Mr Hinton made during his last visit, in which she said: "Family is more than blood, it's the people you want to be with."
Mr Hinton added that this year he would be bringing along the Monopoly game Ms Dench gifted him last Thanksgiving, while he hopes 2020 will be the year he returns the hosting favour.
He said: "We wanted to host Thanksgiving but I think it's basically impossible since we're moving in the day before. Next year."
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/Jamal Hinton