Arizona Thanksgiving duo brought together by mistaken text reunite for the holidays

It all began with a mistakenly sent text, and seven years later, the bond between two people brought together by accident remains strong.

We have been reporting on Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench multiple times over the years. It all began in 2016 when Dench sent a text to multiple people.

The text began by stating what time the Thanksgiving dinner would be, but there was a problem: Dench had the wrong number for one of the people.

"I didn’t know one of my grandsons had changed his number," said Dench.

"I knew for a fact it couldn’t have been my grandma," said Hinton. 'She doesn’t text. She doesn’t call. She doesn’t know how to work her phone at all."

"I get this text back saying ‘Who is this?’" Dench recounted. "I say, ‘It’s your grandma,’ and he says, ‘Send me a picture.’"

Once Hinton and Dench exchanged selfies, the mix-up became apparent.

"I was like ‘oh,’" Hinton recounted. "I joked around a little bit more, and I asked, ‘Can I get a plate though?’ And she responded, ‘Yes, of course. That’s what grandmas do. They feed everyone.’"

The rest, as one would say, is history, with the whole mix-up ending up going viral, and still generating attention after all these years.

"That’s the first thought that went across my mind, like, I don’t know this person, but then I sat back, and I realized that that’s kind of who I am," said Hinton.

Things change over time, and Hinton's life, along with Dench's, have changed as well. In 2020, Dench's husband passed away after battling COVID-19. Meanwhile, the teenager who was mistakenly invited to Thanksgiving dinner by Dench is now an adult. Despite the changes, Hinton and his girlfriend, Michaela, have been there alongside Dench's family.

On the topic of change, the two have partnered with Airbnb to invite a new stranger to their Thanksgiving dinner. The ticket cost? $16, in honor of 2016.

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  (Wanda Dench)

"We started thinking, ‘You know what? This would be a great idea, to have a complete stranger from someplace else join us,’" Dench said. "Hopefully it would catch on, and hopefully, he’d have a good experience, and then maybe he’d invite a stranger to his next Thanksgiving. You know, a ripple effect."

Dench and Hinton's story has been told many times since 2016, but it may be showcasing one thing about family.

It can always grow.

"He taught me that you can have friendship with the most unlikely people," said Dench.

Dench and Hinton's story has caught the attention of filmmakers, with producers at Netflix trying to turn the story into a movie. There's no word, however, on when the movie will be released.