Speed Reads

a new tradition

Grandmother and teen who met accidentally by text will celebrate Thanksgiving together again

Five years after an accidental text brought them together, the friendship between Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench is still going strong.

In 2016, Dench sent a text to Hinton about Thanksgiving dinner, thinking she was messaging her grandson. Hinton responded that while she wasn't his grandmother, he'd love to "still get a plate." Dench quickly replied, "Of course you can. That's what grandmas do ... feed everyone." That year — and every year since — Hinton and Dench have celebrated Thanksgiving together, with various members of their families and Hinton's girlfriend Mikaela also joining in. 

They meet outside of November as well, grabbing dinner and spending hours chatting. Dench's husband, Lonnie, died of COVID-19 complications last year, and moving forward, their Thanksgivings will be different. Dench told Today she's grateful for the time they all spent together and the lesson she's learned from Hinton. "It dawned on me that there doesn't have to be a generation gap to have friendships," she said. "So now I look at a lot of young people in a different light than I used to and I make it a point to talk and get to know them." Hinton, she added, "changed my life a lot, I know that."