Thanksgiving Grandma and Man She Accidentally Met Over Text Reunite for 6th Holiday Meal

After accidentally inviting a teenager to Thanksgiving in 2016, Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton's holiday tradition is now "6 years strong" as they shared a wholesome holiday meal on Nov. 25.

By Emlyn Travis Nov 27, 2021 11:14 PMTags

Pass the turkey and some tissues, because the Internet's most wholesome friendship has come together to celebrate their sixth Thanksgiving meal this year.  

Back in 2016, Jamal Hinton, now 22, and Wanda Dench, now 64, struck up an adorable friendship after she accidentally invited him to Thanksgiving dinner thinking that she was texting her grandson. 

When Hinton, who was taking a math test when Dench first texted him, asked if he could come over for the holiday meal anyway, Dench agreed. Their newfound friendship immediately went viral after Hinton posted their sweet story on Twitter and kickstarted a Thanksgiving tradition that has continued ever since.

That includes this year, when Hinton tweeted that they were "all set for [their] year 6" reunion on Nov. 14. He also shared a screenshot of his texts with ‘Grandma Wanda' confirming that he and his partner, Mikaela Grubbs, would be visiting on Thanksgiving Day.  

Stars Celebrate Thanksgiving 2021

Then, on Friday, Nov. 26, Hinton posted a photo set that included an image from each of their last five Thanksgivings, alongside a new selfie with Dench and Grubbs. "Thanksgiving 2021," he captioned the post. "6 years strong." 

Grubbs shared her own image from their gathering on Instagram that featured Dench holding a picture of her late husband, Lonnie, while Hinton held a painting of them all with a halo over Lonnie's head.

She added, "It's amazing seeing the impact these two have made on the world just being their wonderful selves."


In April 2020, Dench's husband died from COVID-19. "As some of you may have already found out tonight Lonnie did not make it..." Hinton wrote in an Instagram post after Lonnie's death. "He passed away Sunday morning but Wanda told me all the love and support he was receiving put a huge smile on his face so I thank every single one of you guys for that!" 

In the lead up to Thanksgiving that year, Hinton stated that the holidays wouldn't "be the same as past ones" but that "we will make the best of it."

"Rest In Peace to Lonnie and everyone else we lost this year we will miss you greatly," he shared. "Thank you for being in our lives."

The friends then celebrated Thanksgiving and Hinton posted an image of them all together with Dench holding a photo of Lonnie in his memory.


Speaking with the TODAY show earlier this month, Hinton called the story of his and Dench's friendship "amazing from the start to the finish."  

"I've been enjoying almost every second of it," Hinton said. "I was just telling Wanda the other day how it actually helps me get through the year sometimes to see so many uplifting comments, to see so many people looking forward to our story, that I just love it all." 

Watch Daily Pop weekdays at 11 a.m., only on E!.