He's got an adopted grandma now!
People can make friends in the oddest of ways. An Arizona grandmother wasn’t told that her grandson changed his phone number months before, so she texted another teen to tell him when the family gathering would be. Even after realizing he wasn’t her grandson, she was happy to invite him over anyway. This simple mistake has turned into a tradition between new-found friends.
Wanda Dench didn’t want to leave her “grandson” out of her holiday gatherings this year even though they’re not technically related. A simple misdial in 2016 created a tradition that brought two total strangers together and showed the world that family love can extend far beyond a bloodline.
Not My Grandma
In 2016, Wanda Dench of Mesa, AZ sent a group text to her family members about her upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. She reminded them that Thanksgiving dinner would take place at 3 p.m. on Nov. 24 and to let her know if they were definitely planning on coming. However, one of the phone numbers in the group text was that of 17-year-old high school student Jamal Hinton who had never met Wanda before.
He asked who was texting him, and Wanda replied back, “Your grandma,” not realizing that she had misdialed. Jamal asked if he could have a picture of her, and she sent him a selfie from her office. He sent a selfie back, saying, “You [sic] not my grandma.” He then asked if he could still get a plate of her meal, and she replied, “Of course you can. That’s what grandma’s do… feed everyone.”
While most people would have left the conversation there, Jamal really did want to go to Wanda’s family dinner, and she was happy to have him there.
A New Tradition
Jamal came from Tempe, AZ to be there that day. Even though he forgot the pumpkin pie he said he would bring, Wanda was happy to meet this teen she mistook for her grandson.
Their relationship continued to blossom over the rest of 2016 and into 2017.
Jamal and Wanda converse about once a week. He tells her about what he plans to do with his future, and she tells him all about how her family is doing. Wanda and Jamal started to feel like family members. “For him to continue with the relationship, I’m just really pleasantly surprised. We’re more of extended family and, best of all, friends,” She told The Arizona Republic.
So once the holidays rolled around again, it was only natural for Wanda to invite Jamal over for the next family gathering.
“It was really nice having everybody here. We got to laugh about last year and reminisce about how it all blew up on our phone and how I had to change my number. We had a laugh and a good time,” she said of their unconventional holiday tradition.
Wanda and her family had Jamal and his girlfriend Mikaela Grubbs over for dinner this year. He has a standing invitation to attend future family functions.
“The world is becoming a better place than it used to be. I’m loving it,” Jamal said about the kindness that Wanda showed him. “I love that you don’t have to know someone or know their background to be nice to them.”
Do you think that you would invite a total stranger to your family gathering like Wanda did for Jamal? Let us know in the comments and SHARE this story!