Thanksgiving Grandma Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton Reunite for Holiday for 8th Year

Arizona duo Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton, who became friends after she accidentally texted him an invite to her Thanksgiving dinner, reunited to celebrate the holiday for the eighth time.

By Corinne Heller Nov 23, 2023 5:32 PMTags
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Eight years ago, an Arizona grandma and a teen stranger accidentally became friends after starting a Thanksgiving tradition that captured the hearts of people nationwide.

This week, Wanda Dench, 66, shared her holiday table with Jamal Hinton, 24, to whom she had famously texted an invite after mistaking his number for her grandson's, for the eighth consecutive year. This time, they invited another stranger, identified as Arseni, to join them for an early holiday dinner at Wanda's home in Prescott, Ariz. as part of an Airbnb promotion.

"Our year 8 selfie," Jamal, 24, wrote alongside a photo of himself, Wanda, 66, and their guest on Instagram Nov. 22, one day before the holiday. "Thanks for staying with us, Arseni, and for being part of the good in the world this holiday season #airbnbpartner"

The duo's tradition began in 2016 when Wanda accidentally texted Jamal, instead of her grandson Randall Burgoyne, "Thanksgiving dinner is at my house on Nov. 24 at 3:00pm. Let me know if you're coming. Hope to see you all. Of course that includes Amanda & Justin."

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The then-17-year-old responded, "Who is those..." and Wanda replied, "Your grandma," adding a grandma emoji.

Jamal asked her to send him a picture. She did, and he then texted her a photo of himself, writing, "You not my grandma."

He added, "Can I still get a plate tho?" Wanda responded, "Of course you can. That's what grandma's do...feed every one," adding a cake emoji.

The pair's friendship and heartwarming Thanksgiving tradition have continued to touch fans' hearts. "Every year the universe heals itself in many ways," one person commented on their recent photo. "This is one of them. Balance restored."

Another user wrote, "If there's one single thing I look forward to every years it's this."

Look back at Wanda and Jamal's Thanksgiving reunions over the years:


The two reunited for a Thanksgiving meal for the eighth consecutive year.


...after teaming up with Airbnb for a promotion in which another guest joined in on the fun. "Our year 8 selfie," Jamal wrote on Instagram. "Thanks for staying with us, Arseni, and for being part of the good in the world this holiday season #airbnbpartner"


The two reunited for the seventh consecutive Thanksgiving.


"Thanksgiving 2021," Jamal wrote on Instagram. "6 years strong."


"5 years strong!" Jamal wrote on Instagram. "Happy Thanksgiving everyone."This marked the first holiday for Wanda without her husband Lonnie Dench. In April 2020, he passed away from COVID-19.


"As promised!" Jamal wrote on Instagram. "Here’s our 2019 update."


Jamal wrote on Instagram, "It’s a tradition now #thanksgiving2018."


After the two reunited for Thanksgiving for the second consecutive year, Jamal wrote on Instagram. "I guess you can say thanksgiving was one for the books."

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In 2016, Jamal accepted Wanda's accidental invite to her Thanksgiving dinner, which had meant to text her grandson. "That's what grandma's do..." she wrote, "feed every one."

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