The Thanksgiving tradition that was started by a typo lives on for a seventh year


Just two days before Thanksgiving, Jamal Hinton told fans what they wanted to hear: “To answer all your questions, yes Thanksgiving Year 7 is scheduled out! See you Thursday!” he posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

Fans had been waiting with bated breath for Hinton to confirm his plans for an annual Thanksgiving meal with Wanda Dench — a now 65-year-old grandmother who accidentally texted him six years ago inviting him to Thanksgiving.

As people fear the fate of Twitter amid Elon Musk’s recent takeover and the turmoil that has followed, some users expressed concern that they might miss out on the long-awaited selfie of Hinton and Dench as the unlikely couple posts on social media annual.

“I hope twitter survives at least until next week so we can get our annual update from them,” one fan wrote Friday.

“Can Twitter hold on until Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench share their annual Thanksgiving photo?” another tweeted 12 Nov “It’s only DAYS away.”

Although their selfie has yet to be posted, it’s clear that the touching Thanksgiving tradition will indeed continue for the seventh year in a row — and the Internet is rejoicing.

“This is a Thanksgiving staple now like yams and mac & cheese,” someone tweeted after Hinton confirmed their plans.

The story started in November 2016 when Dench accidentally texted Hinton, thinking it was her grandson. She invited him to Thanksgiving.

When Hinton, then 17, received the message from an unknown number, he asked who it was. Dench replied, “Your grandmother.”

“Grandma? Can I have a picture?” Hinton replied. He received a selfie of Dench that he had never seen before.

Hinton wrote back, “You’re not my grandma,” with a laughing emoji, then jokingly asked, “Can I still have a plate?”

Dench gravely replied, “Of course you can. That’s what [grandmas] do … feed all.”

Hinton took her up on the invitation, and so began an ongoing tradition – and a lasting friendship. Every year since the text message intervened, Hinton has attended Dench’s Thanksgiving meal at her home in Mesa, Ariz. – 25 minutes drive from where he lives in Phoenix.

After nearly a decade of Thanksgiving holidays spent with their respective families, people still haven’t stopped swooning over Hinton and Dench’s heartwarming bond. Year after year, devoted fans enthusiastically count down to their annual selfie.

They have supported each other through hardships, including the sudden death of Dench’s husband of 42 years, Lonnie Dench, who also developed a close relationship with Hinton and was an active participant in their Thanksgiving tradition. He died of covid-19 complications in April 2020.

Before their first Thanksgiving meal without Lonnie Dench, Hinton tweeted: “Thanksgiving won’t be the same again, but we’ll make the best of it.”

“I don’t have my beloved Lonnie with me, but I want to be with family I love dearly,” echoed Dench in a tweetshares a photo of his family with Hinton and his girlfriend, Mikaela.

In September, Dench got his first tattoo to commemorate her husband and parents, and of course Hinton accompanied her to the appointment.

“I got three shooting stars. Each one represents my guardian angels in heaven – my husband who stood for integrity, my mother who was brave and my father who was all about unconditional love,” Dench tweeted later.

Hinton and Dench’s feel-good friendship must be the subject of one upcoming Netflix movie called the “Thanksgiving text”. Hinton announced the partnership last December, although few details – including the release date – have been released.

“We are excited to share our story with the world,” Dench and Hinton said in a joint statement. “We hope it inspires more people to reach out and make connections that they wouldn’t normally make.”

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