Grandma Who Accidentally Invited Stranger To Thanksgiving Invites Him For 3rd Year

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 23 Nov 2018 14:03
Wanda Dench and Jamal Hintonjamalhinton12/Instagram

When most people make a mistake, they either own up and admit their fault, sweep it under the rug and hope no one notices, or quietly correct their error and carry on.

One woman in America, however, has turned an accidental mistake into a holiday tradition, and has continued to do it every year since it began.


In 2016, Wanda Dench, from Arizona, mistakenly invited teenager Jamal Hinton over to her house for Thanksgiving after sending a message to the wrong number.

What’s amazing is that Wanda didn’t withdraw her invitation, and Jamal accepted it, and has accepted it every year since.

It all started when Wanda sent a text out to who she thought was her grandson. Jamal, a bit confused but obviously hungry, let her know she had contacted the wrong person, but was still tempted to a plate of delicious Thanksgiving food, so asked if he could come anyway.


Wanda replied: ‘Of course you can. That’s what grandma’s do…feed every one’.

Jamal posted the text exchange on Twitter, and it was quickly praised by thousands of people who loved the good natured grandma and the pair’s Thanksgiving spirit.

They obviously got on well when Jamal went over for dinner, as the pair have kept up their new tradition, with this year being Jamal’s third year in a row visiting Wanda for Thanksgiving.


Speaking to local paper The Arizona Republic, Wanda said:

It was really nice having everybody here. 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.

Since their first meeting, Wanda and Jamal kept in touch, with him thinking of her as an adopted grandmother.


Wanda added:

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

Jamal said:

The world is becoming a better place than it used to be. I’m loving it. I love that you don’t have to know someone or know their background to be nice to them.


Of course, it’s not just humans who like to be fed and watered during the holidays. Dogs are quite partial to it too.

Which is why Christie Chipps Peters and her animal shelter, Richmond Animal Care and Control, are finding homes for dogs to be invited to for Thanksgiving.

Speaking to The Dodo, Peters said:

People who’ve never considered fostering before reached out to us, so excited to host one of our animals.

More than half of the animals that year were adopted, either by the family themselves or someone who met them through the family.

Dog shelterRACC/Facebook

After putting out an advert to the community, Peters found herself dispatching 35 animals to generous foster families, each of whom received a nice meal and some much needed TLC.

The Thanksgiving foster programme is in its fourth year. The shelter also waives the adoption fee if a family chooses to adopt their host pet.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: News


The Arizona Republic and 1 other
  1. The Arizona Republic

    Mesa grandma's accidental Thanksgiving invitee welcomed back for seconds

  2. The Dodo

    Families Are Inviting Shelter Dogs Over For Thanksgiving Dinner