What started as an accident has turned into a sweet holiday tradition.
Four years ago, an Arizona woman accidentally invited a teenage stranger to her Thanksgiving dinner via text message. Ever since, they’ve celebrated the holiday together.
This year was no exception, however there was an empty seat at the table.
Wanda Dench’s husband of 43 years, Lonnie, died away in April from complications caused by COVID-19.
“I wasn’t looking forward to it at first because Lonnie wasn’t going to be there," "The past seven months have been so difficult, but this was really important to me.”
“I can’t even explain how much joy I had, having good food with my favorite company. We laughed, we had a great time, we reminisced about the past. It was so good for all of us,” she told the outlet.
Their story began in 2016, when Hinton received a random text from Wanda Dench inviting him to a Thanksgiving dinner with a family that wasn’t his. The unlikely pair’s interaction went viral when Hinton, then 17, shared a screenshot of their texts on Twitter.
Dench, thinking she had texted her grandson who had recently changed his phone number, invited Hinton to Thanksgiving dinner at her home in Mesa, Arizona.
Hinton was confused and asked for a photo of the person who had texted him.
When he saw the photo of a woman he had never met, he responded she wasn’t his grandmother but jokingly asked, “Can I still get a plate tho?”
Dench, doing “what grandmas do,” responded: “Of course.”
So Hinton went in 2016. Then in 2017, after getting another invite (this time intentionally). Then again in 2018. And yet again in 2019.