Culture

After Accidental Invite, Strangers Get Together For Thanksgiving Anyway And Become Holiday’s Viral Inspiration

by Leo Shvedsky

November 26, 2016

When grandmother Wanda Dench sent out a group texting inviting family and friends over for Thanksgiving dinner, she accidentally included a wrong number.

Jamal Hinton was confused, not recognizing the numbers on the group text so he asked “grandma” if she could send back a picture. When she did, Hinton cleared up the confusion — he was a 17-year-old black kid who had inherited her grandson’s old phone number. Dench’s actual grandson had forgotten to pass along his new contact information. But Hinton couldn’t help but jokingly ask, “Can I still get a plate tho?”

And like any good grandmother, Dench wrote back, "Of course you can.”

Along the way, one of Hinton’s friends shared the playful exchange on his Facebook and forgot to blur out Dench’s phone number.

“I got close to 600 messages and phone calls of people asking me if they too could come over for dinner,” she said in an interview with the Arizona Republic.

All the attention caused this seemingly small but touching exchange to go viral and Hinton decided to formally take Dench up on her invitation.

A selfie of the two that Hinton posted during dinner, quickly went viral, being shared more than 70,000 times on Twitter alone.

The pair were also the recipients of some funny gifts, including a year’s supply of stuffing from Stove Top.

Dench’s family said the dinner was a great time to show their Arizona community how strangers can still bond, even as many people are still healing from a divisive presidential election. 

And for Dench and Hinton — the unlikely new friends say they plan to stay in touch after all the pumpkin pie has been served.

"It gives me faith, a lot, in humanity because so many people have been kind," Dench told NBC News.

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After Accidental Invite, Strangers Get Together For Thanksgiving Anyway And Become Holiday’s Viral Inspiration