Grandma Reunites with Stranger She Accidentally Invited for Thanksgiving: 'We're ... Family'

Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench have reunited for a third Thanksgiving years after she accidentally texted him about the holiday

When Arizona grandmother Wanda Dench accidentally invited teen Jamal Hinton for Thanksgiving dinner in 2016, little did she know the two would grow from strangers to like family.

It all started when Dench meant to text her holiday plans to her 24-year-old grandson — but he had recently switched his number, so Dench messaged Hinton, then 17, instead.

Despite the mishap, Dench still welcomed Hinton into her home and they have now made getting together on Thanksgiving a tradition. Hinton/Twitter
Jamal Hinton/Twitter

Hinton went over for a third Thanksgiving this year, and he posted a photo series on Twitter of the selfies he’s taken with Dench over the years.

“2016, 2017……2018,” he wrote, complete with a sweet heart emoji.

“It was so unexpected, but she was just so sweet about it,” Hinton previously told PEOPLE about Dench keeping her promise to invite him over. “It was a reminder that there are still some good people left in this world.”

Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic via AP
Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic via AP

The unlikely friends have kept in contact even when it’s not Thanksgiving.

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

Hinton also brought his girlfriend, who hit it off with Dench last Thanksgiving, to dinner this year for the second time in a row.

Jamal Hinton

“I just clicked when I met him and first talked to him,” Dench told NBC News in 2016.

“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to get to know this guy,’ ” she said. “It gives me faith, a lot, in humanity because so many people have been kind.”

Last year, after their first Thanksgiving reunion, Dench 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.”

Related Articles