The grandmother who went viral last year after inviting a stranger to Thanksgiving dinner contacted the man again to ask him to join this year.
Wanda Dench of Mesa, Ariz. reached out to Jamal Hinton last month to ask if he would be interested in having dinner with her family again.
"How could I say no?" the 18-year-old Hinton told Inside Edition. "She's like a second grandma."
Last year, Dench attracted national attention when she accidentally invited Hinton, a student at Desert Vista High School. As ABC15 reported at the time, Dench thought she was sending a text to her grandson and his girlfriend with the start time for Thanksgiving dinner. She wanted to know if his girlfriend was coming.
Instead, the text went to Hinton, who wondered who the text came from. "It's your grandma," Dench replied.
Hinton thought his grandmother just got a new number he didn't recognize, so he asked the sender for a photo "just to double check." Dench sent him a photo and he sent her one back. Even though they weren't related, he asked if the dinner invitation still stood. She said it did.
"I thought, 'Wow, this lady is really nice,' " Hinton said in November 2016. "Any other person would probably blow me off, and be like, 'No, never text my number again,' but she was actually pretty nice and sweet about it."
This time, without all the surprising media attention, Dench purposefully invited Hinton to her family's Thanksgiving dinner.
"We wanted to get to know him without all the news people in our house," Dench told Inside Edition. "It was so busy and crazy we didn’t get to know him personally."
She said this year's dinner was a "lot nicer" and "low-key."
"We told him he's invited every year and I will reach out every time. He said he'd love to come," Dench told Inside Edition. "He is our extended adopted grandson."
Photo: Instagram / @Jamal Hinton