Grandmother And Stranger She Accidentally Texted To Spend 7th Thanksgiving Together

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A grandmother and stranger who became friends after she accidentally invited him to a Thanksgiving dinner will spend the holiday together for the seventh year in a row.

In 2016, Wanda Dench, from Arizona, texted the number she thought belonged to her grandson and invited him for the holiday - but the number actually belonged to then-17-year-old Jamal Hinton.

Rather than ignore the unknown number, the pair sent each other selfies, with Jamal replying: "You're not my grandma," before asking if he could still "get a plate" at the dinner. The sweet grandma responded: "Of course, you can. That’s what grandmas do… feed everyone."

Fast forward six years later, on Tuesday, November 22, Jamal shared a photo standing beside Wanda outside The Cheesecake Factory restaurant, revealing that the two are carrying on their heartwarming tradition.

Check out the original tweet and 7th-year photo below:

"To answer all your questions, yes Thanksgiving year 7 is planned out! See you guys Thursday!" he captioned the photo with turkey and black heart emojis.

After Jamal shared the picture on his social media page, his post amassed 557.7K likes, with many people commenting that they wait each year for an update on the comforting story.

One user wrote: "My favorite story in all the internet is still going strong!"

Another shared: "I’m not being over dramatic when I say that seeing this update every year is one of the best parts about every year."

A third commented: "What started out as a text to a wrong number blossomed into a beautiful story about family."

A fourth said: "Continues to be the most wholesome story on the internet, year after year. Nothing better than this."

Even at the height of the pandemic in 2020, the pair figured out a way to continue their tradition. However, that year was difficult as Wanda's husband, Lonnie, passed away a few months earlier due to Covid-19 complications.

Both Wanda and her husband were diagnosed with the virus around the same time, but it sent Lonnie to the hospital with pneumonia. Shortly after hearing the news, Jamal took to Twitter to ask his followers to support the couple.

After the grandad's passing, he shared another update on Twitter, writing that Lonnie had died, adding: "Wanda told me all the love and support he was receiving put a huge smile on his face so I thank every single one of you guys for that!"

About a week later, Jamal posted a touching video on Twitter of him at lunch with the couple, captioning the tweet: "We miss you Lonnie."

Speaking to Today about the accidental text message, the grandma said she felt like "fate stepped in" at that moment six years ago. She explained that Jamal taught her that "age made absolutely no difference" in making connections.

"But when Jamal came along, my husband and I and him and his girlfriend, we would go out to dinner throughout the year together and we would just lose all track of time," Wanda said.

"That’s when it dawned on me that there doesn’t have to be a generation gap to have friendships. So now I look at a lot of young people in a different light than I used to and I make it a point to talk and get to know them," she continued.

"He’s changed my life a lot, I know that," Wanda added.

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