Grandmother who went viral after inviting the wrong teenager to Thanksgiving celebrates fifth holiday with him

Jamal Hinton

A grandmother from Arizona who went viral after accidentally inviting the wrong teenager to Thanksgiving celebrated the holiday with him for the fifth year in a row this week. 

Wanda Dench, 63, and Jamal Hinton, 21, gathered for a Thanksgiving dinner in Mesa, Ariz., with Hinton’s girlfriend and Dench’s daughter and grandson, according to multiple reports. Missing from the table was Dench’s husband, Lonnie Dench, who died earlier this year from COVID-19 complications.

“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,” Wanda Dench told CNN.

“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 continued.

The group held the Thanksgiving celebration on Friday so they all could get tested for COVID-19 before marking the holiday on Thursday with their respective families. They also lit a candle next to a photo of Lonnie Dench at the table to remember him, CNN reported.

“At first it was sad. We had a photo of Lonnie at the table with a candle lit, and we were all shaky in the beginning but it lasted five minutes before we were back to ourselves,” Hinton, told the outlet. “We just told jokes and stories and shared our memories of Lonnie, so it was amazing.”

In November 2016, Dench accidentally sent a text to Hinton inviting him over for Thanksgiving instead of her own grandson.

Hinton asked who she was, to which she responded, “Your grandma.” She also sent a picture of herself, and Hinton told the woman “You not my grandma. Can I have still have a plate though?”

“Of course you can,” She said. “That’s what grandma’s do… feed every one.”

Hinton shared a photo of the now-viral text exchange at the time.

The duo has celebrated Thanksgiving together each year since the initial mistake.

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