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Thanksgiving tradition started by a wrong text lives on for the seventh year


Just two days before Thanksgiving, Jamal Hinton told fans what they wanted to hear: “To answer all your questions, yes, Thanksgiving Year 7 is scheduled! See you Thursday guys!” he posted Tuesday on Twitter.

Fans had been waiting with bated breath for Hinton to confirm his plans for an annual Thanksgiving meal with Wanda Dench — a now-65-year-old grandmother who accidentally texted him six years ago inviting him over for Thanksgiving.

As people fear the fate of Twitter amid the recent Elon Musk takeover and the turmoil that followed, some users feared they’d miss the much-anticipated selfie of Hinton and Dench, who portrayed the unlikely couple. post on social media every year.

“Hope Twitter survives at least until next week so we can get our annual update from them,” said one fan wrote Friday.

“Can Twitter hold on until Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench share their annual Thanksgiving photo?” another tweeted November 12. “That’s just DAYS away.”

While their selfie has yet to be posted, it’s clear that the touching Thanksgiving tradition will indeed continue for the seventh consecutive year — and the internet is delighted.

“This is now a Thanksgiving staple, like yams and mac & cheese,” someone tweeted after Hinton confirmed their plans.

The story began in November 2016, when Dench accidentally texted Hinton, thinking it was her grandson. She invited him to Thanksgiving.

When Hinton, then 17, received the message from an unknown number, he asked who it was. Dench replied, “Your grandma.”

“Grandma? Can I have a picture?” Hinton replied, receiving a selfie from Dench, which he had never seen before.

Hinton wrote back, “You’re not my grandma,” with a laughing emoji, then jokingly asked, “Can I still get a plate?”

Dench honestly replied, “Of course you can. That is what [grandmas] do … feed everyone.’

Hinton accepted the invitation, and so began an ongoing tradition – and an enduring friendship. Every year since the texting mix-up, Hinton has attended Dench’s Thanksgiving meal at her home in Mesa, Ariz. – 25 minutes drive from where he lives in Phoenix.

After nearly a decade of spending Thanksgiving holidays together with their respective families, people still haven’t stopped swooning over Hinton and Dench’s heartwarming bond. Year after year, devoted fans enthusiastically count down to their annual selfie.

They have supported each other through hardships, including the sudden death of Dench’s husband of 42 years, Lonnie Dench, who also developed a close relationship with Hinton and was an active participant in their Thanksgiving tradition. He died in April 2020 from covid-19 complications.

For their first Thanksgiving meal without Lonnie Dench, Hinton tweeted: “Thanksgiving won’t be the same again, but we’re going to make the best of it.”

“I don’t have my beloved Lonnie with me, but I will be with family that I love dearly,” Dench repeated. in a tweetwho shares a photo of her family along with Hinton and his girlfriend, Mikaela.

In September, Den got her first tattoo to memorialize her husband and parents, and of course Hinton accompanied her for the appointment.

“I have three shooting stars. Each represents my guardian angels in heaven – my husband who stands for integrity, my mother who was brave and my father who went for unconditional love,” Dench later tweeted.

Hinton and Dench’s feel-good friendship becomes the subject of a upcoming Netflix movie called “The Thanksgiving Text.” Hinton announced the collaboration last December, though few details – including the release date – have been published.

“We are excited to share our story with the world,” Dench and Hinton said in a joint statement. “We hope it inspires more people to reach out and make connections they wouldn’t normally make.”

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