Arizona Man Will Be Spending 7th Straight Thanksgiving With Random Grandma Who Accidentally Texted Him One Year

Grandma hinton

How about a little something to get ya feeling good ahead of Thanksgiving?

Many of y’all may remember the wild story from back in 2016, when a grandmother accidentally texted a stranger about a Thanksgiving gathering.

The stranger was a teenage boy, and he ended up joining the family for their Thanksgiving, and the tradition has lived on ever since.

The woman, Wanda Dench, and the then teenage boy Jamal Hinton caught up with TODAY to update us on how their tradition has been going.

Hinton said:

“I told her the cameras and the fame, everything could stop tomorrow, and nothing’s changing between us.”

Dench added:

“Absolutely. He’s in my heart for life.”

On November 22nd, Hinton posted a picture to Instagram of him standing with Dench outside of The Cheesecake Factory restaurant, which further proved that the tradition has continued to stay strong, even seven years later.

He added in the caption:

“To answer all your questions, yes Thanksgiving year 7 is planned out! See you guys Thursday!”

And on top of that, there’s apparently a Netflix movie in the works about the two’s unusual yet heartwarming relationship, but Dench admitted that they aren’t allowed to talk about it yet.

The two stay in touch throughout the year, and Hinton even put Dench on a billboard when he began a new business.

He said:

“I’ve always told her whatever I’m doing, she’s a part of, no matter what it is.”

Hinton was also there when Dench got her first tattoo, and hilariously added:

“Matching tattoos next.”

The original story goes like this. Dench accidentally sent a text to Hinton when he was 17 about a Thanksgiving gathering at her house on November 24th at 3 PM.

When Hinton asked who sent the message, she replied:

“Your grandma”

Hinton asked for a picture to prove that it was actually his grandma, and when she did, he sent back a selfie and a text saying she’s not his grandma.

He hilariously asked:

“Can I still get a plate tho?”

And she replied:

“Of course you can. That’s what grandma’s do…f eed everyone”

He shared the interaction on social media, and it went viral.

Their tradition has continued every year in Mesa, Arizona.

Even during the pandemic they found a way to gather, even though Dench’s husband Lonnie had passed away earlier that spring due to complications with COVID-19.

Dench and her husband were both diagnosed with it, but the virus sent Lonnie to the hospital with pneumonia.

Hinton took to Twitter to spread awareness and support, and he and his girlfriend both made sure to be there in person to support Dench during the tough situation.

Dench recalled that day:

“I heard some rustling at my front door, and I opened it up and Jamal and Mikaela were dropping off a whole bunch of food and gifts and stuff.”

He updated his followers after the meeting:

“Wanda told me all the love and support he was receiving put a huge smile on his face so I thank every single one of you guys for that!”

A week later, they shared a video of them at lunch with Lonnie and Wanda, with a caption that said:

“We miss you Lonnie.”

Dench admits that she believes fate put the two together:

“Jamal taught me that age made absolutely no difference. I love all of my grandkids and kids, but we all are different generations and we all reminisce about different things.

But when Jamal came along, my husband and I and him and his girlfriend, we would go out to dinner throughout the year together and we would just lose all track of time.

One time, we were at a restaurant for three or four hours and I couldn’t believe we were there that long. We kept talking! It was just such a wonderful conversation.

That’s when it dawned on me that there doesn’t have to be a generation gap to have friendships. So now I look at a lot of young people in a different light than I used to and I make it a point to talk and get to know them.

He’s changed my life a lot, I know that.”

Even though Dench is retiring and moving a few houses away next year, they still plan to keep the tradition alive and well.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock