Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench have developed a lifelong friendship and plan to continue their annual tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving together.
Blavity reported that the pair became an internet sensation after Dench, 66, accidentally texted Hinton, 24, an invite to her 2016 Thanksgiving dinner. Since then, the unexpected message has led to an ongoing tradition for them.
Hinton and Dench’s bond has strengthened over the years despite hard times. Their friendship is what the 66-year-old relied on most after her husband, Lonnie, died from COVID-19 in 2020. They held a memorial to honor the family patriarch, with the couple’s daughter and grandson in attendance, per Blavity.
“I can’t even explain how much joy I had, having good food with my favorite company,” Dench told CNN then. “We laughed, we had a great time, we reminisced about the past. It was so good for all of us.”
As the duo prepares for this year’s festivities, Hinton still receives texts from random numbers. Complex reported that the 24-year-old took to X, formerly known as Twitter, and shared a screenshot of a brief conversation with a stranger via text.
“Thanksgiving around the corner and I am still receiving text from random number! Year 8 plans are set with a great surprise!!! 😂😁” he tweeted.
Thanksgiving around the corner and I am still receiving text from random number! Year 8 plans are set with a great surprise!!! 😂😁 pic.twitter.com/XY8TS5CY6A
— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12) October 16, 2023
In June, Hinton and Dench were contestants on The Cube and competed for a $250,000 cash prize, People reported. While on the show, the pair talked about their friendship and how they have gotten close over the years.
— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12) May 22, 2023
“It seems like you guys have become a closer-knit family,” host Dwyane Wade told the teammates.
“Absolutely,” Dench replied, adding that they “go out to dinner throughout the year.”
“We have a lot of fun together, she’s a great cook,” Hinton said.