Screengrab via Jamal Hinton/Twitter

Arizona grandma and accidental Thanksgiving invitee reunite for second year

An annual tradition in the making.


Chris Tognotti

Internet Culture

Published Nov 26, 2017   Updated May 22, 2021, 9:59 am CDT

One of the best viral moments of last year’s Thanksgiving got an update this year, and people have been charmed by it once again. For his year’s Thanksgiving, Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton got together for yet another holiday meal, marking one year since an accidental text message introduced them to one another.

On Nov. 15, 2016, Dench, a woman living in Mesa, Arizona, sent out a text message meant for members of her family reminding them when to arrive for Thanksgiving. But she accidentally sent it to high school student Jamal Hinton, a misunderstanding that ultimately led to the 17-year-old scoring an invitation to Dench’s Thanksgiving.

Now, one year later, Dench invited Hinton back for another Thanksgiving get-together, in what has the makings of an annual tradition. Hinton himself tweeted out a pair of photos showing he and Dench last year and this year.

Dench told The Arizona Republic that she and Hinton had a good time, and they reminisced about how their unlikely introduction came about last year.

“It was really nice having everybody here,” Dench said. “We got to laugh about last year and reminisce about how it all blew up on our phone and how I had to change my number. We had a laugh and a good time.”

According to USA Today, Hinton has come to regard Dench as a grandmother figure, and she’s happy that they’ve continued their friendship, accidental origins and all. To hear Hinton tell it, he regards this whole situation as a sign that the world can improve.

“The world is becoming a better place than it used to be,” he said. “I’m loving it. I love that you don’t have to know someone or know their background to be nice to them.”

Dench reportedly extended a standing offer to Hinton to attend future Thanksgivings, an offer he accepted. In other words, come this time next year, he’ll probably have a third photo to share.

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*First Published: Nov 26, 2017, 4:48 pm CST