An accidental text message has sparked a Thanksgiving tradition now entering its seventh year.
On Tuesday, Jamal Hinton confirmed in an Instagram post that he’ll be spending this Thanksgiving with Wanda Dench, who in 2016 thought she was texting her grandson to invite him over for Thanksgiving, when she actually texted Hinton.
“To answer all your questions: yes, Thanksgiving year 7 is scheduled! See you Thursday!” Hinton said in the caption of a photo of him standing next to Dench outside a Cheesecake Factory restaurant.
The two first met in 2016 when Dench, of Mesa, Arizona, sent a text inviting Hinton to dinner. It was for her grandson, who had changed his phone number. Instead, Hinton, who was 17 at the time, got the message while in class at Desert Vista High School.
The two discovered the mistake and then sent selfies to each other, with Hinton asking if he could still come over. Dench texted, “Sure you can. That’s what grannies do… feed everybody.”
Hinton has documented the holiday every year on his social media. In 2019, he shared a photo in which he wrote, “Blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives.”
After Dench’s husband died, they still spent the holidays together.
“This Thanksgiving, along with all the upcoming holidays, won’t be the same as the last, but we’ll make the best of it,” Hinton wrote in a 2020 post. “Rest in peace to Lonnie and everyone else we’ve lost this year . We will miss you immensely. Thank you for being in our lives.”
In an interview with azfamily.com in 2021, Dench and Hinton reflected on their friendship.
“I would have missed out on a great relationship,” said Dench, when asked what would have happened if she hadn’t invited Hinton years ago. “I’ve changed my view of the younger generation so much, and now that I look back on all these years, I haven’t changed their lives, they’ve changed mine.”
GMA and the TSTIME Wire contributed to this report.
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