A teen accidentally invited to Thanksgiving at “grandma’s” house is celebrating his sixth Thanksgiving dinner with this family,
Jamal Hinton went viral in 2016 after getting a text from a random number, inviting him to a holiday dinner. When Hinton, 17 at the time, probed as to who the sender was, he was informed it was his grandmother.
After a few selfies were exchanged, it was established that Wanda Dench wasn’t related to Hinton. But after he asked if he could “still get a plate,” she welcomed him with open arms.
As their sixth holiday together quickly approaches, Dench — who grew up as a military child because her father served in the Navy, according to ABC News — is standing behind her belief that family isn’t just those who are related.
“We moved around a lot so I was always going to new places. And so strangers were not strangers to me,” she told the outlet. “Family is more than blood. It’s the people you want to be with.”
In early April 2020, Hinton revealed on Instagram that Dench and Lonnie had both tested positive for COVID-19.
“I am so sad to announce that Wanda and Lonnie both have COVID-19 and that Lonnie is currently in the hospital fighting both COVID and Pneumonia please send words of love and encouragement their way,” he wrote.Just seven days later, he shared the heartbreaking news that Lonnie had died on April 5 due to complications from the virus.”Wanda told me all the love and support he was receiving put a huge smile on his face so I thank every single one of you guys for that!” he added in the Instagram post.
Hinton has documented Thanksgiving dinner each year on his social media.