Grandmother Spends 7th Thanksgiving with Stranger She Accidentally Texted

Jamal Hinton / Instagram

Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench are set to spend their 7th Thanksgiving together after a wrong-number text started a years-long friendship

The story first went viral in 2016. A grandma, Wanda Dench, sent out a text with an invitation to her Thanksgiving dinner, but she accidentally sent one invite to the wrong number. Jamal Hinton was at the other end of that text message, and even though Dench wasn’t his grandma, he asked if he could still come over for a plate.

“Of course you can,” Dench wrote back. “That’s what grandma’s do… feed everyone.”

That was the start of a years-long friendship that’s still going strong. Hinton just posted a photo of himself and Dench, smiling with their arms around one another outside a Cheesecake Factory restaurant, as he announced that the pair are planning to get together once again for Thanksgiving 2022.

“To answer all your questions, yes Thanksgiving year 7 is planned out!” he wrote in the caption. “See you guys Thursday!”

Hinton captured hearts all over the internet when he revealed he had taken Dench up on her offer in 2016 and spent Thanksgiving with her and her husband, Lonnie.

Then, they surprised the internet again when they reunited for Thanksgiving the following year.

It became a tradition as Hinton grew up—for their first Thanksgiving, he was just 17 years old. Now, as an adult, he still joins the Dench family. They even found ways to gather safely throughout the COVID pandemic, and they grieved together (and with their fans all over the world) when Lonnie passed away from complications of COVID-19 in early 2020.

2022 will be the seventh Thanksgiving that this unlikely pair of friends spends together, but the impact they’ve had on one another is even more far-reaching than that. There’s currently a Netflix movie in the works about their relationship, and Hinton featured Dench on a billboard when he started his own business. Earlier this year, Dench got her first tattoo—with Hinton by her side. Now they’re planning on getting matching ones.

“I told her the cameras and the fame, everything could stop tomorrow, and nothing’s changing between us,” Hinton told the Today show.

“Absolutely,” Dench added. “He’s in my heart for life.”


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