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How one accidental text lead to two families finding joy at Thanksgiving


Jamal Hinton | Twitter | Fair Use

Cerith Gardiner - published on 11/25/21

The connection has proved a great source of comfort for the now-widowed grandma.

It is often said that God works in mysterious ways, and this adorable story of how a grandma ended up spending Thanksgiving with a man she’d never met is a wonderful example.

In 2016, Wanda Dench sent a text to her grandson to arrange Thanksgiving plans. However, she accidentally sent the message to a complete stranger, Jamal Hinton.

Although the pair realized the texting error, that didn’t stop Hinton from cheekily asking for his own invite. He got an unlikely reply from the Arizona grandma:

“Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do … feed everyone!”

So Hinton duly showed up, along with his girlfriend Mikaela, for his first Thanksgiving meal with Wanda and her husband Lonnie.

The new friends hit it off and continued the tradition. This proved particularly beneficial when Hinton was there to support Wanda last year after her husband died from COVID complications, according to ABC15.

He and Mikaela went to spend the smaller Thanksgiving meal with Wanda, along with her daughter and grandson, where Lonnie’s photo took pride of place at the table.

“At first it was sad. We had a photo of Lonnie at the table with a candle lit, and we were all shaky in the beginning but it lasted five minutes before we were back to ourselves. We just told jokes and stories and shared our memories of Lonnie, so it was amazing, Hinton shared with CNN.

For Wanda that first Thanksgiving without her husband of 43 years was made all the better by having Jamal and Mikaela by her side:

“I can’t even explain how much joy I had, having good food with my favorite company. We laughed, we had a great time, we reminisced about the past. It was so good for all of us.”

This year the group of friends will be gathering once more to enjoy their Thanksgiving tradition, as Hinton shared in a recent tweet:

As the families prepare to come together for a sixth consecutive year, their story is a reminder to us all to open our doors — and our hearts — to the unknown, as you never know where that might lead. And that God’s mysterious ways can even take the form of an accidental text!

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