An accidental text message has led to a Thanksgiving tradition that is now in its eighth year.
Last Monday, Jamal Hinton confirmed on X that he will be spending this Thanksgiving with Wanda Dench, who in 2016 thought she was texting her grandson to invite him to Thanksgiving when she was actually texting Hinton.
(Video in media player from previous report)
“Thanksgiving is coming and I’m still getting text messages from a random number! 8th grade plans are set with a great surprise!!!,” said Hinton.
The two first met in 2016 when Dench texted from Mesa, Arizona, inviting Hinton to dinner. It was intended for her grandson, who had changed his phone number. Instead, Hinton, who was 17 at the time, received the news while sitting in class at Desert Vista High School.
The two figured out the mistake and sent each other selfies, with Hinton asking if he could still come over. Dench wrote: “Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do… feed everyone.”
Hinton has documented the holiday on his social media every year. In 2019, he shared a snap with the words: “Blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives.”
Even after Dench’s husband died, they continued to spend the holidays together.
“This Thanksgiving and all upcoming holidays will not be like the past ones, but we will make the best of it,” Hinton wrote in a 2020 post. “Rest in peace to Lonnie and everyone else we lost this year. We will miss you very much. Thank you for being in our lives.”
In a 2021 interview with azfamily.comDench and Hinton reflected on their friendship.
“I would have missed out on a wonderful relationship,” Dench said when asked what would have happened if she hadn’t invited Hinton years ago. “I changed my perspective on the younger generation so much, and now that I think back all these years, I didn’t change their lives; They changed my life.”
ABC 15, GMA and CNN Wire contributed to this report.