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“Thanksgiving Grandma” & Jamal reflect on six-year tradition

“Thanksgiving grandma” Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton are celebrating their sixth Thanksgiving...
“Thanksgiving grandma” Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton are celebrating their sixth Thanksgiving together after the mistaken text she sent him about the holiday back in 2016.(Source: AZ Family)
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 4:47 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (AZ Family) - It’s the Thanksgiving tradition that just doesn’t get old - not only to Arizonans but all around the world.

“Thanksgiving grandma” Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton are celebrating their sixth Thanksgiving together after she mistakenly texted him about the holiday back in 2016.

It’s a text that changed their lives and become a tale and tradition as old as time.

“It feels really good inside to know that I bring people joy,” said Jamal.

By now, the world knows the story - Wanda accidentally texted Jamal in 2016 for Thanksgiving dinner, thinking she texted her real grandson. That year they got together for the holiday, thinking it would be a one-time thing.

Now they count their blessings that it wasn’t. Now it’s a tradition that the world wants to know is continuing and needs to know updates on their lives.

“I’ve been asked that question so many times, and I give the answer that it’s just a feel-good story. There’s a lot, but people want a feel-good story,” said Wanda.

The two have celebrated more than just Thanksgiving together; Christmas, birthdays, and exciting new opportunities have come their way.

“All of this kind of helped me figure out what I wanted to do in life,” said Jamal. “I’m starting to pursue an acting career.”

This story almost never happened had Wanda not responded when Jamal jokingly said he’d come over for a Thanksgiving plate that first year. Yet here we are in 2021.

“I would have missed out on a wonderful relationship,” Wanda said. “I’ve changed my view so much on the younger generation, and now that I’ve reflected back on all these years, I didn’t change their life; they changed mine.”

For more on Wanda and Jamal’s six-year tradition, visit AZ Family.

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