Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton are celebrating Thanksgiving together for the seventh year in a row. It’s a holiday tradition that started by accident but is now one that people around the world look forward to hearing about each year.
In an Instagram post on Tuesday, Hinton shared a picture of him standing next to Dench outside The Cheesecake Factory, confirming the two will continue their now-viral tradition.
“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.
The comment section was filled with excitement, with one user dubbing the gathering “the Thanksgiving tradition I never knew I needed.” Others said they look forward to the update on the heartwarming story every year.
It all began in 2016 when Dench mistakenly texted Hinton, who was 17 at the time, when she intended to text her grandson about the time to arrive for Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of telling her she had the wrong number, Hinton jokingly asked if he could still get a plate. Dench replied, “Of course, you can. That’s what [grandmas] do … Feed everyone.”
Hinton took a screenshot of the text mix-up, which went viral. On that Thanksgiving, he drove from Tempe, Arizona, to Mesa to celebrate with Dench and her family.
Since then, Hinton has shared the pair’s plans for Thanksgiving every year on social media. And, every year, the story goes viral as hundreds of thousands of people have followed the story since their first holiday meal together six years ago.
Even amid the pandemic in 2020, they still gathered for a scaled-down dinner. However, that year was different because Dench’s husband, Lonnie, died earlier that spring due to complications from Covid-19.
The 65-year-old Dench had said that she believed “fate stepped in” when she sent that careless text message in the past.
Hinton, now 23 years old, revealed last year that he and Dench had teamed up with Netflix and were producing a movie about their touching holiday tale.
When asked about her friendship with Hinton, Dench says, “He’s changed my life a lot, I know that.”