It was in 2016 that Dench accidentally sent a Thanksgiving dinner text invite to Hinton believing she was texting her grandson.
While for the most part, I believe everything that happens is purely based on choices and coincidences, there are some incidents where I can't help indulge the side of me who believes in fate and destiny. Certain moving stories are so random and inexplicable that you can't help but consider the possibility that there's a greater force at play. One such story is that of 62-year-old Wanda Dench and 20-year-old Jamal Hinton. Although their paths crossed via a classic case of texting the wrong number, everything that has happened since is a testimony to mankind's ability to come together in the most inspiring ways.
For everyone who thinks it’s just for the cameras and social media! We are so blessed to have Wanda and Lonnie in our lives and we all are so happy to know our story has touched so many people💛 pic.twitter.com/iapl88Gh6l— Jamal Hinton (@kingjamal08) May 11, 2019
It was in 2016 that Dench accidentally sent a Thanksgiving dinner text invite to Hinton believing she was texting her grandson. Hinton, who was a high school senior at the time, responded to the text asking for a photo to confirm if it was his own grandmother behind the invite. The mix-up quickly became clear as the photo featured a woman with blonde hair and glasses, who was most definitely not Hinton's grandmother. "[You're] not my grandma," he texted back before jokingly adding, "Can I still get a plate tho?"
Somebody grandma is coming in clutch this year!! Ayee!!! pic.twitter.com/QGrx83nHLl— Jamal Hinton (@kingjamal08) November 15, 2016
"Of course you can. That's what grandmas do... feed everyone," Dench replied and thus began a beautiful tradition. Speaking to TIME, Hinton revealed that although he initially felt "kind of weird" about being invited to Thanksgiving by a stranger, he decided to accept Dench's invitation after meeting her in person ahead of the holiday meal. "What made me want to go was that I went and actually met her and she was pretty nice. So I decided that I’d just go and enjoy the time with her. It turned out to be a great thing," he said.
2016, 2017...... 2018 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/0ZNA54uGAS— Jamal Hinton (@kingjamal08) November 23, 2018
"She’s a great cook and she’s a great person to just hang out with," Hinton added, revealing that he loves Dench's Thanksgiving turkey and her green bean casserole. For the past three years, this unlikely duo has been keeping up their tradition of meeting each other for Thanksgiving, and they plan to do the same this year as well. Hinton even brought his girlfriend Mikaela along last year, when they hung out with Dench and her husband Lonnie. As for how they spend their time together, Hinton revealed that time flies when they're catching up on each others' lives.
2019 coming soon don’t worry 😊 2 months away pic.twitter.com/g0YPITzYJP— Jamal Hinton (@kingjamal08) September 19, 2019
"We don’t watch TV or anything. We just sit at the table for a couple of hours and talk the whole time and tell stories and see how we’ve been. Time kind of just flies, we don’t even realize how long we’ve been there. They’re really good company," he said. This year, he plans to bring along the game of Monopoly that Dench gifted him last year so that they can play together. Although he was hoping to play the host this year since he and Mikaela are moving into a new apartment the day before the holiday, they won't be able to have people over for Thanksgiving. "We wanted to host Thanksgiving but I think it’s basically impossible since we’re moving in the day before. Next year," he said.