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Wrong number leads to extra seat at Valley family’s Thanksgiving table

LISTEN: Wanda Dench - Viral Thanksgiving Text

PHOENIX — Most of the time when someone contacts the wrong number, they simply apologize and everybody goes their separate ways.

Most of the time.

Wanda Dench set out a group text message to coordinate Thanksgiving dinner plans. She said it would be at her house at 3 p.m. and that of course Amanda and Justin were invited. However, one of the recipients turned out not to be her grandson, but 17-year-old Jamal Hinton.

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“It all happened when my oldest daughter called me to discuss plans for Thanksgiving,” Dench told KTAR on Wednesday.

Hinton was sitting in seventh period in high school when he received the message.

“I was thinking, ‘hey, Thanksgiving, this could be my grandmother. She got a new number, because I got a new number too,'” Hinton said.

Hinton asked who she was and for a picture of her, which in turn, confused Dench.

“I thought, ‘why is my grandson wanting a picture of me?’, so I took a selfie,” she explained.

When Hinton received the selfie, he knew something was not right.

Although Wanda was not his grandmother, that didn’t stop him from inquiring about his place at the table, to which Wanda expressed that he was still indeed invited.

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Soon after, Dench said her phone started receiving hundred of texts. It turns out she had to change her number, because it had accidentally gone out on Twitter when the story went viral.

“But then when I started reading people’s texts, there were a few that were saying how it moved them, and it was such a great thing, and that I was awesome for inviting this stranger,” Dench said.

Dench further said that she was just doing this because it’s who she was.

“I’m glad that people feel that this is a good thing, because we sure do need more positive stuff that’s going on throughout the country,” she said.

Hinton added that he thinks the overwhelming response to the story is probably because this is the sort of thing the country needs right now.

“It actually felt pretty great, because of all of the (Donald) Trump stuff going on and all of the protests, it’s good to see that there are still nice people out there,” he said. “Not everything has to be negative.”

KTAR reporter Corbin Carson contributed to this story

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