Grandma and the Man She Mistakenly Messaged Celebrate Their 8th Year Together
Most of us have experienced the awkwardness of sending a text to the wrong number, but these mishaps rarely result in heartwarming tales. However, the story of Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton is a delightful exception to this rule. Their friendship began with a simple texting error and has since blossomed into a beautiful bond, demonstrating the power of human connection and the capacity for friendship to bridge generational gaps.
Wanda meant to invite her grandson for Thanksgiving dinner, but the message reached a random guy instead.
In 2016, Wanda Dench intended to send a Thanksgiving dinner invitation to her grandson, but an unforeseen change in phone numbers led to a mix-up. Instead of reaching her intended recipient, her message found its way to Jamal Hinton, a 17-year-old teenager at the time. Puzzled by the unexpected text, Jamal requested that Wanda send a selfie to prove her identity, which she gladly obliged.
Despite confirming their unfamiliarity, Jamal made an unexpected request; he asked if he could still join Wanda and her family for Thanksgiving dinner. Surprisingly, she agreed. Jamal shared a screenshot of their conversation on Instagram, and the story quickly went viral. “She is a lovely lady,” Jamal said after their initial meeting. “She told me she’s used to having many people over. I just got a vibe from her that made me feel at home.”
“He’s literally changed my life and my point of view on young generations about being open to friendships when you think you have nothing in common with somebody,” Dench said.
They continued the tradition and became friends.
As the years passed, the bond between Wanda and Jamal grew stronger. In 2020, when Wanda’s husband passed away, she found support and solace in Jamal and his girlfriend, Mikaela. Wanda describes Jamal as her “heart for life,” emphasizing how he has transformed her perspective on friendships and age gaps.
Beyond their annual Thanksgiving tradition, Wanda and Jamal remain in constant contact throughout the year. Jamal expressed his gratitude for their friendship, saying, “It’s amazing to have her as a friend and as my family. The cameras and the fame can stop tomorrow, and nothing is changing between us.”
Wanda and Jamal’s bond quickly began to resemble that of a family.
In September 2022, Jamal accompanied Wanda on a new adventure, getting her first tattoo. “I got 3 shooting stars. Each one represents my guardian angels in heaven — my husband who stands for integrity, my courageous mother, and my father who was about unconditional love,” Wanda explained. Jamal was there to keep her company and share the experience. The last year’s Thanksgiving celebration included the exciting news that Jamal and Wanda are starting a business venture together.
And if you thought that their unlikely friendship would make for a good movie, you are right. Netflix shared the exciting news that they are planning to turn Jamal and Wanda’s story into a film — and we can hardly wait to see the on-screen version of this sweet and surprising friendship.
Jamal Hinton recently shared a tweet that revealed that he had received a text intended for someone else, just as he once had. He cheerfully responded to the sender with characteristic good humor, even sharing a photo of himself with Wanda. The message hinted at something special in the works for this year’s reunion, reaffirming their friendship’s unique and heartwarming nature.
The friendships we make by mistakes, like Jamal and Wanda’s, remind us that the most unexpected connections often become the most enduring and cherished relationships in our lives.