PHOENIX - It is a Thanksgiving tradition that keeps on going.
For the sixth year in a row, Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton are together again on Thanksgiving. They were first connected after an accidental text message invite to dinner. Since then, the whole world has fallen in love with their story.
For Dench and Hinton, it doesn’t feel like that much time has passed. They continue to invite people into their home on Thanksgiving because they want to share their story of love and friendship during this special time of year.
"It has been an amazing journey," said Dench.
"She is an amazing person. She is the best," said Hinton.
Story began in 2016
It all started six years ago, when Dench sent an accidental text to Hinton, saying 'Thanksgiving at my house.' Hinton asked who it was. and Dench replied 'your grandma.'
While Dench is not Hinton's grandmother, they have basically become family anyways.
"I didn’t expect any of it," said Hinton. "I didn’t even expect to come. It was all a joke at first."
"He came, and it was this, 'wow, I was so blessed and didn’t know it at the time,'" said Dench.
Dench and Hinton had Thanksgiving dinner together in 2016, and every year since. In the meantime, their relationship has also grown into even more than a once-a-year holiday get together.
"Now, we feel like we can talk about everything and anything. It has been amazing," said Hinton.
"I always felt like from the moment I met Jamal, it felt like I had known him in another lifetime or something," said Dench.
Things were a little different in 2020, after Dench's husband, Lonnie, passed away after battling COVID-19.
While it will never be the same, they keep the tradition going strong.
"Me and Wanda will forever be friends," said Hinton.
"I see him now more than some of my own family members!" said Dench.
Every single year, this story spreads like wildfire on social media, and it has turned into a very busy holiday for them, as they do all of their interviews and fit in time with their family as well.
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