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A bittersweet Thanksgiving for the grandmother and teenager who met via an accidental text in 2016

November 22, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Four years ago, a grandmother accidentally invited a stranger to her Thanksgiving dinner via text message. Ever since, they've celebrated the holiday together and despite the pandemic, this year was no exception.

Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton celebrated their fifth Thanksgiving on Friday in Mesa, Arizona, but there was an empty seat at the dinner table.

The two shared a Thanksgiving dinner with Hinton's girlfriend and Dench's daughter and grandson.

Dench and Hinton are a pair of unlikely friends.

Dench, a grandmother of six, meant to text her grandson to invite him to her 2016 Thanksgiving dinner, but accidentally texted then 17-year-old Hinton while he was in class.

It was never awkward, Wanda and Lonnie became two close best friends to me," Hinton said.

For Dench and Hinton, spending Thanksgiving together is a cherished tradition they both hope never has to stop.

"Lonnie was missing this year, and he was a big part of the Thanksgiving story and a big part of our lives, but that's one thing Wanda and I know for sure.

Lonnie would have been very angry if we didn't have Thanksgiving together," Hinton said.

Hinton and Dench are still healing from their loss, and say Lonnie's memory will live with them forever.

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