Strangers connected by text mishap continue Thanksgiving tradition


Four years of laughing, love and– most importantly– unexpected friendship.

“I just feel my life has been enriched since he’s come into it,” said 62-year-old Wanda Dench on Thanksgiving 2019. She and 20-year-old Jamal Hinton are now household names across the nation because Wanda accidentally texted him instead of her real grandson four years ago.

That infamous text from Wanda was telling her grandson to come over for Thanksgiving. But the text went to Jamal instead, and the exchange went viral.

“I got 600 text messages that night because he didn’t block my phone number off of Twitter,” Wanda said with a joking scowl on her face. But no hard feelings because it was the best thing that could have happened.

They were strangers starting a new tradition but are now anything but. And while that first year doesn’t feel like so long ago, so much has changed since then. Jamal met his girlfriend, and she’s been at the last three Thanksgiving gatherings. “We actually just moved into our first apartment yesterday,” Jamal said.

And Wanda was a grandma before, but now she has a new title: “I actually have two great-grandchildren, and that’s pretty awesome,” she said.

Time has changed technology, too. “[I’ve been] having to help her with every single thing on her phone! Like, I literally had to hook up her and her husband’s phones six months ago!” Jamal said while laughing.

Their selfies are now taken in “portrait mode,” something they didn’t have years ago. And Jamal kept his promise from last year: he and his girlfriend’s family cooked this Thanksgiving so that Wanda didn’t have to!

Things change. The years pass. But the longer time goes on, the closer this modern family gets.

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