Judy Dench and Jamal Hinton are still in each other’s lives years after Grandma texted the wrong person Thanksgiving details. However, this year’s Thanksgiving dinner will be bittersweet because tragedy has left one chair empty. Wanda Dench, an Arizona grandmother of six, intended to text her grandson about her Thanksgiving dinner plans in 2016. However, the grandma texts the wrong person for Thanksgiving.
Wanda actually texted Jamal Hinton, a 17-year-old high school senior. Jamal asked who was texting him because he didn’t recognize the number. Wanda was still unaware of her error, so she responded, “your grandmother.” Jamal requested proof, so Wanda sent a photo of herself. Jamal responded with a selfie, revealing that the grandma had texted the wrong person about Thanksgiving. “Can I still get a plate, though?” he joked.
And it was the grandmother’s gracious response that made the inspirational story a viral hit on the internet! After Grandma texts the wrong person, a stranger attends Thanksgiving. Wanda Dench was flawless. She immediately extended an invitation to the stranger she’d texted by mistake. “Of course,” she responded. “Grandmothers do that.” “Please feed everyone.” This act of kindness had a profound impact on Jamal.
Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton finally met in person two days later. That’s when Wanda assured the young man that her invitation was genuine. She sincerely desired for him to join her family for Thanksgiving dinner. And Jamal agreed, arriving at her house with a plate full of turkey! “He was as nice as they come,” Wanda said. “We got to eat food, and he told me about his future plans, and I’m just so excited for him.”
This unlikely friendship swept the Internet and warmed hearts everywhere. However, it also demonstrated that Grandma’s text to the wrong person for Thanksgiving was a case of divine intervention. Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton have remained friends since their chance meeting in 2016. They continue to gather for Thanksgiving every year.
But the two keep in touch throughout the rest of the year. In fact, Jamal and his girlfriend would go on double dates with Wanda and her husband, Lonnie, on a regular basis.
“Whenever we got together, we’d spend four or five hours just talking and talking,” Jamal explained. “It was never awkward; Wanda and Lonnie became two of my closest friends.” Wanda Denton and Jamal Hinton are still in each other’s lives years after the grandma texted the wrong person about Thanksgiving. However, a tragedy in 2020 made the following Thanksgiving gathering bittersweet.
Wanda’s husband of 43 years, Lonnie, died in April from COVID-19 complications. “I didn’t think I’d have to go home without him,” Wanda said. “Even while he was in the hospital, I hoped he would recover and return to me.” He was my true love. He was my biggest supporter.” As the annual Thanksgiving gathering approached, Wanda’s thoughts returned to Lonnie’s empty seat.
“At first, I wasn’t looking forward to it because Lonnie wasn’t going to be there.” “The last seven months have been extremely difficult, but this was extremely important to me,” she explained. Wanda overcame her overwhelming grief and continued with the gathering. “This year, Lonnie was missing, and he was a big part of the Thanksgiving story and our lives,” Jamal explained. “But there is one thing Wanda and I are certain of. Lonnie would have been furious if we hadn’t spent Thanksgiving together.”
A Sorrowful Thanksgiving Gatherin. Despite the pandemic, Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton gathered for Thanksgiving dinner, as they do every year. This time, they arrived early and kept the gathering small. They could then go get tested for the coronavirus before spending Thanksgiving with their families. And their time-honored tradition was exactly what the widow needed during this difficult time.
“I can’t even describe how happy I was to be eating good food with my favorite company,” Wanda says. “We laughed, we had a good time, we talked about the past.” It was extremely beneficial to all of us.” Lonnie’s absence was certainly noticed. However, the reunion of these unlikely friends provided some solace at a time when the loss was especially painful. “At first, it was depressing,” Jamal explained.
“We had a photo of Lonnie at the table with a candle lit, and we were all a little shaky at first, but it only lasted five minutes before we were back to normal.” It was amazing because we just told jokes and stories and shared our memories of Lonnie.” These two families, who began as strangers, continue to gather each year. And to think, it all started with a grandma texting the wrong person about Thanksgiving plans. God’s plan is far greater than we can comprehend!
In fact, the real-life story of Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench is so inspiring that Netflix is developing a film called The Thanksgiving Text based on it. “We are very excited to share our story with the rest of the world,” Jamal and Wanda said. “We hope it inspires more people to reach out and make connections they might not have made otherwise.” We are so grateful to God for bringing us together through a misplaced text message.”