Photo: Getty Images
  /  11.23.2022

In a story sure to warm your heart for the holidays, an accidental Thanksgiving text message between a grandmother and a much younger stranger has created a lifetime bond. Their tale was so inspiring that Netflix is now involved with sharing their viral story in a film.

In 2016, Wanda Dench accidentally texted then-17-year-old Jamal Hinton that Thanksgiving dinner was at her house on Nov. 24 at 3 p.m. The teen responded to the unknown number asking who the sender was. “Your grandma,” Dench replied with an elderly woman emoji. Still unsure of the phone number, Hinton asked the person he was chatting with to prove it was his grandmother. After Dench responded with a selfie, the young man informed her that she was texting the wrong person, but jokingly asked if he could still have a plate. “Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do… feed everyone,” she said with a piece of cake emoji.

 

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A post shared by King Jamal (@jamalhinton12)

Hinton shared a screenshot of their conversation online and the photo went viral. That year, the pair indeed ended up spending their first Thanksgiving together in Mesa, Arizona. Social media loved their story and the duo continued the tradition for years to come. In 2020, Dench and her husband, Lonnie Dench, were both diagnosed with COVID-19. Unfortunately, Lonnie passed away at 63 years old due to complications from the virus in April of that year. However, the grandmother and her young friend continued to keep the gathering going. “We had a picture of my husband and my daughter put a candle in front of his picture at the head of the table,” Wanda told TODAY in 2020.

“We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was just having a small group with people that you love and good food. We reminisced about the past Thanksgivings… in spite of the fact of not having my husband with me for the first time after 42 years, it was a really, really good Thanksgiving. I really enjoyed the smaller group where all of us could share our thoughts and feelings with each other and have a relaxing conversation. It was wonderful,” she continued. On Dec. 2, 2021, Hinton shared a photo on Instagram of himself and Wanda. He captioned the post, “I am very excited to announce our new partnership with Netflix. We thank every single one of you for your love and support in our journey the last [six] years. We can’t wait to tell our story on the big screen!”

Yesterday (Nov. 22), Hinton gave an update on the tale of two strangers-turned-friends. “Thanksgiving year [seven] is planned out! See you guys Thursday!” he captioned a photo of himself and Dench smiling.

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A post shared by King Jamal (@jamalhinton12)

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