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Tradition Continues: After Accidental Text, Strangers Spend 3rd Thanksgiving Together

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Thank goodness that spam texts aren’t anywhere near as common as spam emails. As bad as it is to receive suspicious missives about Nigerian princes and mysterious, near-magical medications, it would be even worse to get them on your phone at 2 a.m.

Still, we’ve all had the experience of getting a bizarre text from someone we don’t know. I received one once from a guy inviting me to a religious ceremony and dinner afterward.

But it wasn’t even a belief system that I belong to. Also, he seemed to think I was a woman and that we were destined for marriage.

It’s easy to shake one’s head at such missteps, chuckle, and move on. But one Mesa, Arizona, woman and a teenager from Chandler, Arizona, turned an errant text into a holiday tradition.

According to The Daily Beast, 17-year-old Jamal Hinton received a text from a woman named Wanda Dench on Nov. 15, 2016. It was addressed to a whole host of people and invited them to Thanksgiving dinner.

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“Hope to see you all,” it read. “Of course, that includes Amanda and Justin.”

Confused because he didn’t know an Amanda or Justin, Hinton replied to the text, asking who sent it. The response? “Your grandma.”

Hinton politely asked for a picture, and when they’d swapped selfies, the reason for the confusion became immediately apparent. They were complete strangers.

The teen jokingly replied, “Can I still get a plate tho?” Surprisingly, Dench responded, “Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do … feed everyone.”

The Arizona Republic reported that Dench shared the story on social media, and it soon went viral.

However, she forgot to remove her number from the screenshot of her phone, and soon some 600 people asked if they too could arrive for dinner. Dench turned them down, but the invitation remained open for Hinton — and he took her up on it.

He didn’t eat with her just once either. In 2017, he spent half of Thanksgiving with his biological family and the remainder with Dench’s clan.

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

Hinton also brought his girlfriend with him. “It was nice to have dinner, very quiet but not weird quiet or awkward quiet,” he told the Miami Herald.

“The food was good and we got to talk this time,” Hinton told CNN. “It went great, and my new grandma seemed to love my girlfriend, so that was good.”

This year, both clans joined together to celebrate Hinton and Dench’s third year together. No longer strangers or even friends, they almost consider each other family.

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

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Education
Wheaton College
Location
Florida
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel




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