Grandma who invited wrong teen for Thanksgiving dinner in 2016 continues tradition for fourth year in a row

In 2016, Wanda Dench displayed true holiday spirit after she sent a Thanksgiving dinner invitation to Jamal Hinton by mistake, thinking he was her grandchild. The rest is history


                            Grandma who invited wrong teen for Thanksgiving dinner in 2016 continues tradition for fourth year in a row

An unintended text message has paved the way for a heartwarming Thanksgiving tradition that has lasted for years. In 2016, Wanda Dench displayed a true holiday spirit after she sent a Thanksgiving dinner invitation to Jamal Hinton by mistake, thinking he was her grandchild.

Hinton clarified he was not her grandson, but then sweetly asked if he could still come down for dinner, and the Arizona grandmother couldn't be happier, according to our report last year.

The chance exchange blossomed into a beautiful tradition, with Dench and Hinton, now 19, still celebrating the holiday together. On Thursday, November 28, Hinton shared three photos of himself and Dench on Twitter from their three Thanksgivings together, as a tribute to their tradition. 

"2016, 2017...2018," he captioned the post. Hinton has now promised to share a video he filmed with Dench and her husband on Friday. Ever since her legendary mix-up back in 2016, Dench has made Hinton her "honorary grandson." 

"It was really nice having everybody here," Dench told the Arizona Republic in 2017. "We got to laugh about last year and reminisce about how it all blew up on our phone and how I had to change my number. We had a laugh and a good time."

"The world is becoming a better place than it used to be," Hinton said at last year's Thanksgiving dinner. "I'm loving it. I love that you don't have to know someone or know their background to be nice to them."

Dench and Hinton sat down together for their first Thanksgiving feast a week after taking the internet by storm in 2016. At the time, Dench had texted him by mistake in order to invite her grandson to the family's traditional holiday lunch in Mesa.

Hinton, who was 17 at the time, told the doting grandmother she had texted the wrong person. However, he asked if he could "still get a plate though?"

"Of course, you can, that's what grandmas do, feed everyone," Dench instantly responded. The minute Hinton arrived at Dench's residence, she hugged him tightly.

The 17-year-old student was grateful for the meal, and for meeting such a nice person. "I'd never seen her before and she welcomed me into her home," Hinton told ABC15 in 2016. "That shows me how great of a person she is, I'm thankful for people like that." 

Dench, who gave an "open invitation" to Hinton for Thanksgiving dinners in the future, has stayed true to her word.

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