Grandma and man she accidentally texted for Thanksgiving reunite for 7th year

(ABC 6 News) – An accidental text message has led to a Thanksgiving tradition that is now continuing into its seventh year.

Jamal Hinton confirmed on Instagram Tuesday 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.

Hinton shared a photo standing next to Dench outside The Cheesecake Factory restaurant, writing, “To answer all your questions, yes Thanksgiving year 7 is planned out! See you guys Thursday!”

When Hinton, a high school senior at the time, received Dench’s text in 2016 with details about her family’s Thanksgiving plans, he responded by asking for a photo to confirm if it was his own grandmother behind the text.

The picture came in of a woman with blonde hair and glasses — not Hinton’s grandma.

“[You’re] not my grandma,” Hinton replied with a laughing emoji.

Hinton then sent back a selfie to let Dench know he was not her grandson and asked if he could stop by for dinner anyway.

Dench replied, “Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do… feed everyone.”

The exchange went viral after Hinton tweeted a photo of himself and Dench enjoying Thanksgiving together, along with Dench’s husband, Lonnie Dench.

Hinton and Dench have spent each Thanksgiving together since that 2016 text exchange.

As a part of the tradition, Hinton tweets a photo of himself with his “second family” enjoying Thanksgiving together every year.

Even after Lonnie Dench’s death from complications of COVID-19 in April 2020, the families kept the tradition going.

And last year, Netflix announced that Hinton and Dench’s story will be made into a feature film.

The streaming platform said the movie, titled “The Thanksgiving Text,” will tell the true story, noting how a “deep friendship was formed between Wanda and Jamal, despite their very different backgrounds.”

“We are excited to share our story with the world. We hope it inspires more people to reach out and make connections that they wouldn’t ordinarily make,” Hinton and Dench said in a statement shared by Netflix. “We are so blessed to find a genuine friendship brought together by God from a mistaken text message. “

A release date for “The Thanksgiving Text” has not yet been announced.