Wanda Dench thought she was inviting her grandson but the text was sent to Jamal Hinton, who later joined them for Thanksgiving in 2016.
Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench have a Thanksgiving tradition of their own and it's one that has given a lot of people around the world much hope. It's been five years since Dench accidentally sent a text to Hinton's number in 2016, inviting him over for Thanksgiving dinner. She had meant to send it to her own grandson. Dench didn't realize she had the wrong number until Hinton and Dench exchanged photos of themselves. “You not my grandma,” he commented, before adding, “Can I still get a plate tho.” Dench responded instantly, “Of course you can. That’s what grandma’s do ...feed everyone,” according to TODAY. Every year since then, a seat is reserved at Dench's dinner table on Thanksgiving for Hinton, and he's always there. The chance meeting is now a tradition of their own, and one that spreads warmth and joy.
Hinton announced that they intended to meet up for Thanksgiving dinner this year as well. “We are all set for year 6!” wrote Hinton on Twitter, making it their sixth consecutive Thanksgiving together. Hinton also posted a screenshot of Dench's message inviting him, his girlfriend, and his family to dinner. “It would bring my great joy if you, Mikaela, and your family would come to my house on Thanksgiving day to share good food and great conversation. Your friend always, Wanda,” read the adorable text. He also posted an old selfie with Dench from a previous Thanksgiving dinner.
With everything going on in the world right now here’s a little boost of happiness for your timeline💛 pic.twitter.com/CM9AjmThJZ— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12) March 19, 2020
Dench's husband Lonnie was also very welcoming of Hinton and his girlfriend. Sadly, Lonnie passed away in April 2020 from complications related to coronavirus. Taking a selfie with Lonnie and Dench was also Hinton's own little tradition. Last year, Dench held Lonnie's framed photograph high so they could continue their tradition of involving all four of them. Hinton also posted a video of him enjoying lunch with Dench and wrote, "We miss you, Lonnie."
We are all set for year 6! 🦃 pic.twitter.com/wEQioizWGd— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12) November 14, 2021
Last year, Hinton and Mikaela had met up with Dench and her family prior to Thanksgiving. Hinton also met “the grandson that originally started all of this by changing his phone number and not telling me he changed it.” For Dench, her friendship with Hinton is a special one. “Jamal taught me that age made absolutely no difference,” she said last year. "I love all of my grandkids and kids, but we all are different generations, and we all reminisce about different things. But when Jamal came along, my husband and I and him and his girlfriend, we would go out to dinner throughout the year together and we would just lose all track of time,” she recalled.
Hinton who hails from Phoenix, Arizona spoke about their friendship with Good Morning America. "[Wanda] is a really good person. I really enjoy the time I spend with her," he said. Dench grew up in the military as her father was in the Navy, and her husband was also in the Army. "We moved around a lot so I was always going to new places. And so strangers were not strangers to me," she said, before adding, "Family is more than blood."
Her friendship with Hinton felt like a revelation to her, realizing that no friendship needs to be hindered by a generation gap. “So now I look at a lot of young people in a different light than I used to and I make it a point to talk and get to know them," she said, before adding that Hinton has changed her life in many ways.