A random text message has given rise to a Thanksgiving tradition that is now entering its seventh year.
On Tuesday, Jamal Hinton confirmed in an Instagram post that he will be spending this Thanksgiving with Wanda Dench, who thought she was texting her grandson to invite him to Thanksgiving in 2016 when she actually texted Hinton.
“To answer all of your questions, yes, Thanksgiving year 7 is planned! See you Thursday!” Hinton said in the caption for a photo that showed him alongside Dench outside a Cheesecake Factory restaurant.
The two first met in 2016 when Dench, from Mesa, Arizona, texted Hinton to dinner. It was for her grandson, who had changed his phone number. Instead, Hinton, who was 17 at the time, received the news while he was in class at Desert Vista High School.
The two figured out the mistake and then exchanged selfies, with Hinton asking if he could still come over. Dench wrote, “Of course you can. That’s what grannies do… feed everyone.”
Hinton has documented the holiday on his social media every year. In 2019, he shared a snap and wrote, “Blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives.”
After Dench’s husband died, they still spent the holidays together.
“This Thanksgiving along with all the upcoming holidays won’t be the same as the past but we will make the best of it,” Hinton wrote in a 2020 post. “Rep to Lonnie and everyone else we lost this year , we will miss you very much. Thank you for being in our life.”
In a 2021 interview with azfamily.com, Dench and Hinton opened up about their friendship.
“I would have missed out on a wonderful relationship,” Dench said when asked what would have happened if she hadn’t invited Hinton years ago. “I’ve changed my view of the younger generation so much, and now that I look back over the years, I haven’t changed their lives; they changed mine.”
GMA and CNN Wire contributed to this report.