Thanksgiving tradition: Grandma and man she accidentally texted for holiday to reunite for 7th year

An accidental text message has led to a Thanksgiving tradition that is now continuing into its seventh year.

On Tuesday, Jamal Hinton confirmed in an Instagram post that he will spend this Thanksgiving with Wanda Dench, who in 2016 thought she was texting her grandson to invite him to Thanksgiving when she actually texted Hinton.

“To answer all your questions, yes Thanksgiving year 7 is planned out! See you guys Thursday!” Hinton said in the caption of a photo that showed him standing next to Dench outside a Cheesecake Factory restaurant.

The two first met in 2016 when Dench, from Mesa, Arizona, sent a text inviting Hinton over for dinner. It was meant for her grandson, who had changed his phone number. Instead, Hinton, who was 17 at the time, got the message while sitting in class at Desert Vista High School.

The two figured out the mistake, then sent selfies to each other, with Hinton asking if he could still come over. Dench texted, “Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do … feed everyone.”

Hinton has documented the holiday each year on his social media. In 2019, he shared a snap, writing, “Blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives.”

After Dench’s husband died, they still spent the holiday together.

“This Thanksgiving, along with all the holidays coming up, aren’t going to be the same as 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 greatly. Thank you for being in our lives.”

In a 2021 interview with azfamily.com, Dench 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 over years ago. “I’ve changed my view so much on the younger generation, and now that I’ve reflected back on all these years, I didn’t change their life; they changed mine.”

GMA and the CNN Wire contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.

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