If there’s one thing to be thankful for this year, it’s the lasting relationships that bring joy to our lives—even if that relationship is one we only experience vicariously through the internet. The friendship between 21-year-old Jamal Hinton and 64-year-old Wanda Dench has warmed people’s hearts ever since their first accidental introduction went viral back in 2016. And now they’ll be spending their sixth Thanksgiving together.
It all started when Dench—later dubbed “Thanksgiving Grandma”—mistakenly texted Hinton an invite to Thanksgiving dinner at her home. She thought that she was texting her grandson. Then just 17, Hinton responded in good humor, “You not my grandma…can I still get a plate tho?” Not missing a beat, Dench replied, “Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do…feed everyone.” And, despite living almost an hour apart, the two actually did share a meal together on Thanksgiving day. Continuing the tradition, the two have spent the holiday together every year since and have formed a lifelong friendship in the process.
On November 14, Hinton took to Twitter to confirm the pair’s sixth consecutive Thanksgiving together. He posted a screenshot of Dench’s text invitation—this time actually intended for him—which reads, “It would bring me great joy if you, Mikaela [Hinton’s girlfriend] and your family would come to my house on Thanksgiving day to share good food and great conversation. Your friend always, Wanda.” Of course, Hinton excitedly accepted the warm invitation from Dench, who he has in his phone as “Grandma Wanda.”
This year’s gathering will likely be twinged with lingering sadness as Dench’s husband, Lonnie, who passed away in April 2020 due to complications from COVID-19, won’t be there to join them for the festivities. The pair shared last year’s Thanksgiving dinner in his honor. Though unlikely, Dench and Hinton’s friendship has been real and lasting. “He’s changed my life a lot,” Dench confirms. And with the bond that the two have formed over the years, hopefully, their heartwarming Thanksgiving tradition will continue for many more to come. The internet certainly hopes so.
Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton will be spending their 6th Thanksgiving together!
We are all set for year 6! 🦃 pic.twitter.com/wEQioizWGd
— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12) November 14, 2021
It all started back in 2016 after Dench accidentally texted Hinton thinking he was her grandson.
Somebody grandma is coming in clutch this year!! Ayee!!! pic.twitter.com/QGrx83nHLl
— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12) November 15, 2016
Watch this video to learn more about their unlikely friendship.