A text message for a Thanksgiving dinner invitation ended up on a wrong number.
However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it has developed into an amazing friendship, and unbreakable bond between a white Phoenix grandmother and a then black teenager.
In 2016, then high school senior, Jamal Hinton, now 20, received an invitation to a Thanksgiving dinner from a strange number. A bit confused, Hinton asked who the person was and she replied saying she was his grandmother.
Hinton, who was doubtful about the claim asked her to send him a picture which she did. To his surprise, it was a white woman. He then proceeded to reply with a picture of himself to let her know she got the wrong person.
“You not my grandma,” he replied with a laughing emoji. A shot at getting some free Thanksgiving dinner, Hinton went ahead to ask if the invitation was still open, despite the mix up to which she replied: “Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do … feed everyone.”
According to ABC News, the white grandmother, Wanda Dench, now 62, was actually sending out the invitation to her grandson when she mistakenly texted Hinton.
Hinton subsequently shared the awkward, but funny encounter and invitation on his Twitter page and it went viral. That was the eventual genesis of their Thanksgiving dinner ritual.
“She is a very sweet lady,” Hinton told People after their first dinner together. “She told me her husband was a veteran and she always invited his friends over for dinner, so she’s used to having a lot of people over. I just got a vibe from her that made me feel at home.”
A mistake that established a friendship, Dench and Hinton have since spent each Thanksgiving together to date. Over that period of time, Hinton has also shared their meet-ups on social media.
For this year’s occasion, Dench will join Hinton for dinner on Thursday at the home of his girlfriend’s aunt.
In an interview with Good Morning America leading up to Thanksgiving, Hinton said: “[Wanda] is a really good person. I really enjoy the time I spend with her.”
During the pair’s holiday dinner last year, Dench revealed she grew up in the military. Her father served in the Navy and her husband is also an army veteran.
“We moved around a lot so I was always going to new places. And so strangers were not strangers to me,” she said, according to ABC News.
“Family is more than blood. It’s the people you want to be with.”