For the seventh year in a row, Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton are getting together for Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday tradition shared by two families, but the world has been a part of it from the beginning.
If you’ve never heard of Dench and Hinton, you’re missing out on a holiday tale that feels like the plot of a movie. Actually, Netflixthey develop the story into a movie.
It all started in 2016, when Dench and Hinton first connected – by chance – via text.
Dench thought she was texting her grandson about Thanksgiving plans, but accidentally texted Hinton, a complete stranger. He didn’t act like a stranger though, jokingly asking if he could join the holiday even though Dench wasn’t his grandmother. And Dench assured him that he would have a plate for him.
Hinton’s screenshot was mixed and went viral. That Thanksgiving, she drove from Tempe, Arizona to Mesa to celebrate with Dench and her family.
He was just a teenager then, but now he’s 22, and every year since then he’s been sharing their Thanksgiving plans. And every year, the story goes viral. Hinton and Dench, 65, have 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 got together for the holidays that year, in a gathering to honor Loni.
Hinton has a large following on social media now, with 142,000 followers on Instagram. But he kept fans of that tradition waiting on Tuesday night when he finally revealed that he and Dench had joined for the 7th year in a row.
“To answer all your questions, yes, the 7th year of Thanksgiving is scheduled! See you guys on Thursday!” he wrote, sharing a photo of himself and Dench.
While their annual get-together gets the most attention, Dench and Hinton hang out on other days, too. In fact, he accompanied her when got her first tattoo In September.
He explained the choice of tattoo in a tweet: “I have three shooting stars. Each one represents my Guardian Angels in Heaven – my husband who stood up for integrity, my mother who was courageous and my father who was all about unconditional love.”
Hinton said he had a great time tagging along.
“Go congratulate Wanda on her FIRST TATTOO!! We had a great time with her!”