This grandma accidentally invited a teenager to Thanksgiving in 2016, now it's a tradition.

The Thanksgiving holiday means a lot of different things to people. It could be football, a celebration of chill autumn vibes, praising a deity, gluttony, family, or giving back to those who are less fortunate.

For many, it also represents people of all walks of life coming together in gratitude. Something that America needs a lot more of in these politically and racially-divided times.

Although there are many myths surrounding the first “Thanksgiving” in 1621, it’s believed that the pilgrims and the Wampanog tribe — two groups that couldn’t be more different — came together and enjoyed a feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest.


For the past three years, an unlikely guest has been coming to the Dench family Thanksgiving celebration in Arizona, Jamal Hinton.

Hinton was invited to the Dench celebration three years ago after Wanda Dench accidentally sent then 17-year-old Hinton a text meant for her grandson.

via Jamal Hinton

Jamal Hinton

via Jamal Hinton

After the two realized the text was in error, Hinton jokingly texted back, “Can I still get a plate tho?” and Dench responded, “Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do.”

Hinton accepted the invite, stopped by Dench’s Thanksgiving feast and the story went viral. The idea of strangers of different races opening their doors and hearts to one another was especially powerful after the racially-charged 2016 election.

During the dinner, Dench and Hinton struck up a meaningful friendship.

“I just clicked when I met him and first talked to him,” Dench told NBC News in 2016. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to get to know this guy,’ ” she said. “It gives me faith, a lot, in humanity because so many people have been kind.”

But their relationship didn’t end there.

Hinton was invited back for Thanksgiving in 2017 and he brought his girlfriend, Mikela, along with him.

And on Thanksgiving 2018, Hinton happily tweeted that he was back at the Dench house enjoying Thanksgiving once again with his girlfriend.

After three years, Dench and Hinton’s relationship is the perfect example of why Thanksgiving is so important. When someone opens their door and heart to  a stranger, it can be the beginning of a relationship that lasts forever.

Please pass the gravy … and a tissue.

More
BXGD / Flickr and Cody Bondarchuk / Twitter

Sometimes the smallest gesture can turn your entire day around. You find a $5 bill in the pockets of your jeans. There's no traffic on the way home from work. Or by some divine intervention, you get 11 chicken McNuggets in your 10-piece box.

Of course, if you've ever had such a blessing, you know your first thought is, "Must be some sort of mistake."

But do you return the extra McNugget? Nope. You don't even feel an ounce of guilt for it. You dunk it in barbecue sauce and relish it like a gift from the gods.

A former McDonald's employee in Edmonton, Canada let the world know that sometimes an extra McNugget is not a mistake and he's become a viral hero.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
terimakasih0/Pixabay

When Iowa Valley Junior-Senior High School principal Janet Behrens observed her students in the cafeteria, she was dismayed to see that they spent more time looking down at their phones than they did looking at and interacting with each other. So last year, she implemented a new policy that's having a big impact.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Cierra Brittany Forney

Children in middle school can be super shallow when it comes to fashion. To be part of the in-crowd, you have to wear the right shoes and brand-name clothing, and listen to the right music.

The sad thing is that kids that age can be so creative, but they're forced into conformity by their peers.

Some people never escape this developmental phase and spend their entire lives wasting their money on material goods and judging those who do not or can not.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

They say that kids say the darnedest things, and seriously, they do. Anyone who has spent any significant amount of time with young children knows that sometimes the things they say can blow your mind.

Since teachers spend more time around little kids than anyone else, they are particularly privy to their profound and hilarious thoughts. That's why NYC kindergarten teacher Alyssa Cowit started collecting kid quotes from teachers around the country and sharing them on her Instagram account, Live from Snack Time, as well as her websiteand other social media channels.

Keep Reading Show less
popular