For the seventh year in a row, Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton are reuniting for Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday tradition shared between two families, but the world has been a part of it from the start.
If you’ve never heard of Dench and Hinton before, you’re missing out on a holiday tale that feels like the plot of a movie. Indeed, Netflixthey develop the story into a film.
It all started in 2016, when Dench and Hinton first connected — by accident — via text.
Dench thought she was texting her grandson about Thanksgiving plans, but accidentally sent the text to Hinton, a complete stranger. He didn’t act like a stranger though, he jokingly asked if he could still join for the holidays, even though Dench wasn’t his grandmother. And Dench assured her she would have a plate for him.
Hinton screenshots the mixed text and it has gone viral. This Thanksgiving, he drove from Tempe, Arizona to Mesa to celebrate with Dench and his family.
He was just a teenager then, but now he’s 22, and every year since, he’s been sharing their Thanksgiving plans. And every year, the story goes viral. Hinton and Dench, 65, even added Hinton’s girlfriend, Mikaela, to their guest list.
But in 2020, Hinton shared some sad news. Dench’s husband, Lonnie, had died of COVID-19. They still came together for the holidays that year, in a pared-down gathering to honor Lonnie.
Hinton now has a large following on social media, with 142,000 Instagram followers. But he kept fans of that tradition waiting on Tuesday night, when he finally revealed he and Dench were on for the 7th year in a row.
“To answer all your questions, yes Thanksgiving Year 7 is planned! See you Thursday!” he wrote, sharing a photo of him and Dench.
While their annual date gets the most attention, Dench and Hinton hang out on other days as well. In fact, accompanied him when she got her first tattoo in September.
She explained the choice of tattoo in a tweet: “I have three shooting stars. Each represents my guardian angels in heaven – my husband who represents integrity, my mother who was brave and my father who was about unconditional love.”
Hinton said he had a great time following.
“Go congratulate Wanda on her FIRST TATTOO!! We had a blast with her!”