It Began with an Accidental Text

It all began with a text message back in 2016. Wanda Dench was looking for a head count for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner she was hosting. She dashed off this message, thinking she was sending it to her grandson:

"Thanksgiving dinner is at my house November 24th at 3:00pm," the message read. "Let me know if you're coming. Hope to see you all."

Accidental Text message in Arizona leads to Thanksgiving Tradition
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On the receiving end of the message was a young man named Jamal Hinton. He didn't recognize the telephone number, but instead of telling the texter, wrong number, he asked who it was.

"Your grandma," Wanda replied. Unconvinced, Jamal asked her to send a photo.

"You're not my grandma," he wrote back, sending his own selfie back. "Can I get a plate, tho?" Jamal asked, joking.

Accidental Text message in Arizona leads to Thanksgiving Tradition
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"Of course, you can," she replied. "That's what we grandmas do. We feed everyone." Wanda added a little slice of cake emoji for emphasis.

An Arizona Thanksgiving Tradition is Born

You've probably heard this heartwarming story. It went viral shortly afterward because of a post Jamal made on social media in 2016.

True to her word, Jamal was invited to share Thanksgiving dinner with Wanda and her family. He has had a place at her table every year since this year included.

Over the years, they've forged a true friendship. Their friendship has become far more than a Thanksgiving tradition. Jamal and Wanda make a point to visit about once every two months. Did you know both Wanda and Jamal live in Arizona? Jamal lives in Phoenix and Wanda lives in Mesa.

And yes, they will be sharing Thanksgiving together again this year!

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Gallery Credit: Annalise Mantz & Madison Troyer