Grandma and Stranger She Accidentally Invited To Dinner Share Photos From Their 6th Thanksgiving Together

Thanksgiving is a time of gathering with family. But “family” is a subjective term sometimes. Sure, family can mean mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and more people within the bloodline—but sometimes, it’s the strangers who become friends who become family. And that’s precisely what happed to one dynamic duo six years ago.

In 2016, a woman named Wanda Dench texted her grandson (or thought she did) telling him that he was invited to their Thanksgiving dinner. But when Jamal Hinton, a perfectly good stranger, received the accidental text, he questioned who it was. And after a few more text exchanges, they both realized they didn’t know each other—but that didn’t stop Wanda from standing strong on her invite.

A crazy thing happened that Thanksgiving—Jamal showed up to her dinner. And guess what? They had a lovely evening together.

Think that was fate? Well, how about the fact that Jamal has gone to every Thanksgiving dinner at Wanda’s since—a total of six years straight. In fact, he and his girlfriend, Mikaela, and Wanda’s husband, Lonnie, have all become great friends over the years, hanging out even outside of the late November holiday on a regular basis.

There is one sad part to the story. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Wanda and Lonnie both tested positive for the virus. While Wanda recovered, Lonnie sadly passed away. That meant that last year, 2020, was the first year that Wanda and Jamal spent Thanksgiving without Lonnie—at least physically. The two set up a photo at the table of Lonnie in his honor, so that it could feel like he was there.

This year, though without Lonnie once more, Wanda, Jamal, Mikaela, and other friends and family celebrated Thanksgiving together once more. “Looking forward to getting together with family and friends for Thanksgiving. Jamal said he’ll bring the pumpkin pie,” Wanda tweeted before the holiday.

What a special friendship! We doubt this is one tradition that is ever going to end. We can’t wait to hear about next year’s gathering!

What do you think of how these two met and sustained their friendship? Would you ever show up at a stranger’s home who accidentally texted you? Who do you usually spend Thanksgiving with?