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Thanksgiving tradition: After grandma accidentally invited teen in 2016, duo celebrate 6th year together

Thanksgiving tradition: The accidental message sparked the beginning of a friendship and a yearly ritual as Hinton continued to attend Thanksgiving meals at Dench's for six years.

November 29, 2021 / 03:22 PM IST
Thanksgiving 2021: Wanda Dench holds up a photo of her late husband Lonnie as she, Jamal Hinton and his girlfriend Mikaela pose for a photo on Thanksgiving. (Image credit: Photo tweeted by @@Jamalhinton12)

Thanksgiving 2021: Wanda Dench holds up a photo of her late husband Lonnie as she, Jamal Hinton and his girlfriend Mikaela pose for a photo on Thanksgiving. (Image credit: Photo tweeted by @@Jamalhinton12)


Six years ago when Wanda Dench from Arizona, US, sent a text message to her grandson inviting him for Thanksgiving, she did not know that he had changed his number. So, the message reached 17-year-old Jamal Hinton while he was in a class at Desert Vista High School.

Cut to 2021, this is the sixth year that Hinton and Dench celebrated Thanksgiving together. Confused? Here's what had happened.

After exchanging selfies, Hinton had explained to Dench that she had the wrong person, but yet asked cheekily if he was still invited to Thanksgiving. To which, she texted, "Of course you can. That's what grandmas do... feed everyone."

That marked the beginning of a friendship and an annual ritual as Hinton continued to attend Thanksgiving meals at Dench's with regular social media updates. Recently, he tweeted "We are all set for year 6!" and shared the screenshot of a message from Dench inviting him, his girlfriend Mikaela and his family over for lunch.

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He then followed it up with further updates of the day with photographs of him, Mikaela, and Dench together with an older photo of the trio with Dench's late husband Lonnie who had died from COVID-19 in April 2020.


During an earlier interview, when Dench was asked what would have happened if she had not invited Hinton over six years ago, she said, "I would have missed out on a wonderful relationship. My views on the younger generation have changed so much... And now that I've reflected back on all these years, I didn't change their life; they changed mine."
Ankita Sengupta
first published: Nov 29, 2021 03:22 pm
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