Arizona Grandma Reunites with Stranger She Accidentally Invited for Thanksgiving Years Ago

November 23, 2018 Updated: November 23, 2018

Arizona grandmother Wanda Dench accidentally invited teen Jamal Hinton for Thanksgiving dinner 2016, and she invited him back for Thanksgiving 2018.

She also had him over for Thanksgiving 2017, according to AZCentral.

“Jamal is so awesome,” Dench told website Arizona Family this week.

It started two years ago when Dench mistakenly invited him over after she thought she was texting her grandson, who had changed his number, she said.

“2016, 2017……2018,” Hinton wrote, according to People magazine.

“It was so unexpected, but she was just so sweet about it,” Hinton told People. “It was a reminder that there are still some good people left in this world.”

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

Hinton shared a screenshot of the conversation on Twitter and it got over 40,000 retweets and 100,000 likes at the time of this publication. Hinton expressed confusion about the invite.

He then sent over a picture of himself after expressing confusion on Twitter. She didn’t rescind her offer.

“Can I still get a plate tho?” Hinton asked her, jokingly.

“Of course you can,” Dench responded. “That’s what grandma’s do… feed everyone.”

“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.”

“For him to continue with the relationship, I’m just really pleasantly surprised,” Dench told USA Today. “We’re more of extended family and, best of all, friends.”

They’re already thinking about Thanksgiving 2019, and she told AZFamily that she hopes Hinton can host Thanksgiving at his place.

Dench had offered Hinton a “standing invitation” for Thanksgiving dinner after the first invite. “The world is becoming a better place than it used to be,” Hinton said Saturday. “I’m loving it. I love that you don’t have to know someone or know their background to be nice to them.”

“Gaining a new grandma,” he told AZFamily. “I thought maybe I’d gain one getting married, but as a friend, it’s great.”

He said in 2017, there was less attention due to the lack of a viral tweet. “It was nice to have dinner, very quiet but not weird quiet or awkward quiet, it was a good quiet. The food was good and we got to talk this time,” Hinton was quoted by the Miami Herald as saying at the time. “It went great, and my new grandma seemed to love my girlfriend, so that was good.”

“I reached out to him about a month before and said, ‘Thanksgiving is at my house again, I’d really love it if you would come.'” Dench said in 2017, CNN reported. “He has family that’s close by, and I understood if he couldn’t. But he did spend half of Thanksgiving with them and the other half with us.”

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