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Two years ago, they met because of an invitation texted to the wrong number. This year, they celebrated their third Thanksgiving as “grandma” and “grandson,” creating an internet legacy for the ages.
In 2016, 61-year-old Wanda Dench of Phoenix, Arizona, set this historic Thanksgiving tradition in motion when she accidentally texted then-17-year-old Jamal Hinton in a three-person group iMessage, thinking she had texted her grandchildren.
Somebody grandma is coming in clutch this year!! Ayee!!! pic.twitter.com/QGrx83nHLl— Jamal Hinton (@kingjamal08) November 15, 2016
However, despite the mixup, and some people going a step further to text the grandma themselves asking for an invitation, Dench assured Hinton that he was welcome for a plate, and the two met for Thanksgiving that year, where she had turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and more.
And the good times didn’t stop there. Last year, Hinton joined Dench’s family once more, reminiscing about their origin story and taking the coincidence as a sign that people can be kind to one another without knowing their background.
2016-2017 thanksgiving pic.twitter.com/CpIgr9KapA— Jamal Hinton (@kingjamal08) November 24, 2017
So, of course, the internet went wild when it found out that three Thanksgiving dinners later, Hinton and Dench were still celebrating together.
“Gaining a new grandma—I thought, maybe I’d gain one getting married, but as a friend, it’s great,” Hinton told CBS affiliate AZ Family. “Maybe I can invite you if we get our own place?”
2016, 2017...... 2018 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/0ZNA54uGAS— Jamal Hinton (@kingjamal08) November 23, 2018
This is the type of positivity I’m tryna see on the TL pic.twitter.com/RXsFgrccBn— kepo (@nkaliphodube) November 23, 2018
Man if y’all know the story. This beautiful— AKOREDE (@TheonlyAkorede) November 23, 2018
Crazy I know exactly who both of yoh are... Stories like y'alls stick with people— Indigo Glo (@WeededInTheCity) November 23, 2018
this is literally one of the most beautiful holiday stories— chacha (@madeiinatlga) November 23, 2018
Mr. Hinton — I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving, sir. I do not think that the lady who texted you accidentally did so by accident. There are always forces at work. Sometimes fate intervenes. Make 2019 your year. Best wishes to you.— Omar Moore (@popcornreel) November 23, 2018
Dench told AZ Family that she’s completely down for a fourth Thanksgiving with Hinton and his girlfriend Mikaela Grubbs, but she’s ready to pass the cooking baton down to the grandchildren themselves. Outside of Thanksgiving, the pair still keep in touch throughout the year, going to dinner every couple of months.
In 2016, Grandma Wanda thought she texted her grandson about Thanksgiving dinner until she got a text "who is this?" Turns out she had the wrong number, asking a teen named Jamal instead. They celebrated that year together..and in 2017.— Briana Whitney (@BrianaWhitney) November 23, 2018
Today was their 3rd Thanksgiving together. pic.twitter.com/kBxI7zkJhx
“I’d like to retire from doing dinner and pass it over to the younger generation, and I’ll come and visit,” Dench said.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.