This sweet Thanksgiving tradition is in its third year running
This is one of those accidental relationships you hope will last a lifetime. When grandma Wanda Dench sent a text to Jamal Hinton in 2016 about the family’s Thanksgiving plans, she wasn’t expecting a stranger to return her message. Ever since, the duo has shared a meal for the holiday and have become the most unlikely of friends.
Hinton was a then 17-year-old living in Phoenix, Arizona when he got the deets on the annual Thanksgiving plans. The problem? It wasn’t his family. That didn’t stop Dench from inviting Hinton over anyway. Fast forward three years and the duo are still happily celebrating Thanksgiving together.
It all began back in 2016 when Dench meant to text holiday plans to her 24-year-old grandson — but got the number wrong and texted Hinton instead. During the exchange, Hinton asked for photographic evidence of who was behind the texts and what happened next will melt your heart.
When Hinton responded, Dench didn’t blink an eye, inviting the then-stranger over for dinner with her family.
Hinton accepted and the rest, they say, is history. “I just clicked when I met him and first talked to him,” Dench told NBC News in 2016. Since then, he’s gone over to his “adopted grandma’s” house every year. “2016, 2017……2018,” he wrote next to the caption this year.
Obviously, anyone who’s heard their story is absolutely in love with their relationship and can’t wait for their holiday pics each year:
“For him to continue with the relationship, I’m just really pleasantly surprised,” Dench told the AZ Central. “We’re more of extended family and, best of all, friends.” Dench also said this year’s dinner was more relaxed than previous years and that she got to meet Hinton’s girlfriend, Mikaela Grubbs and they spent a wonderful afternoon together.
Of course, Hinton’s always been upfront that his actual grandmother is also amazing and he went to her house after the Dench family Thanksgiving to spend time with her.
Hinton also told People that their relationship extends beyond the holiday. “She sent me a couple gifts cards for Christmas,” he said. “She also talked to me around my high school graduation, and we’ve been keeping in touch here and there.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for joint Christmas cards, pictures of them hunting for Easter eggs, and setting off fireworks on the Fourth of July. This proves there’s still good in the world.