Arizona Man Spends Eighth Straight Thanksgiving With Grandma Who Mistakenly Texted Him Dinner Invite

Jamal Hinton

This is my favorite Thanksgiving tradition.

You’ve probably seen the viral story over the years, but if not, here’s the rundown:

Back in 2016, Arizona grandmother Wanda Dench sent a text to her grandkids inviting them to Thanksgiving dinner. But one of her grandsons had recently changed his number, so her invitation went to a 17-year old named Jamal Hinton instead.

After they sorted out the mixup, Hinton had a question for Wanda: “Can I still get a plate tho?”

Dench stood by her invitation, telling Hinton that “that’s what grandma’s do…feed every one.”

Now most people would just laugh off the interaction and continue on with their day, but Hinton and Dench were serious about meeting up after the mix-up.

So sure enough, Hinton spent Thanksgiving 2016 with Wanda and her husband, Lonnie – and they’ve continued the tradition ever since.

And it’s not just Thanksgiving that they get together: Hinton has shared videos of the unlikely friends meeting up throughout the year, going to pumpkin patches and even trying to help Wanda set up her phone (and probably making sure she has her contacts listed correctly).

And Jamal and Wanda even competed on the TBS game show The Cube featuring Dwayne Wade earlier this year.

Unfortunately Wanda’s husband Lonnie passed away from COVID in 2020, but the group still spends the holiday together – while remembering Lonnie every year.

And now they’re gearing up for their eighth straight Thanksgiving together, with Jamal confirming that he would again be heading to Wanda’s for the holiday.

But this year there were a couple of new guests at the table: Jamal and Wanda partnered with Airbnb to give two lucky guests an opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with the pair, an experience that included the opportunity to not only have a Thanksgiving meal with the family, but also spend the night playing board games and telling stories – and of course, get in on the annual Thanksgiving selfie:

Eight years later and still going strong.

It’s one of my favorite feel-good stories every time it pops up around this time of year – and just goes to show that there’s still a lot of kindness in this world, despite what we see on the internet and in the news every day.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock