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Arizona man who received mistaken text meets woman for seventh Thanksgiving

Jamal Hinton.jpeg
Posted at 8:22 AM, Nov 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-25 10:22:09-05

PHOENIX — Seven years and still going strong, it's the Thanksgiving tradition that started here in the Valley and took the world by storm.

Netflix plans to turn the story of Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench into a movie.

ABC affiliate KNXV caught up with the duo, who turned their Thanksgiving mix-up into an unbreakable bond.

In the spirit of family, Hinton introduced KNXV to everyone at his and Dench's Thanksgiving gathering before sitting down for a fireside chat.

"We've got family and friends, all there, in the background. It's just about coming together and having fun,” added Hinton.

Hinton and Dench first met in 2016 after she mistakenly texted him while trying to reach her grandson about Thanksgiving plans.

Despite Dench's mistake, Hinton jokingly invited himself.

The next year, their second Thanksgiving together, seemingly everyone was invited.

“For you, it was probably normal,” said Hinton.

“No. Are you kidding," stated Dench.

“It wasn't normal,” Hinton said.

“We had more media at my house than we had family,” added Dench.

Flash forward to 2022, and the fast friends are still at it.

"It's not for the camera. We are actually friends and actually family outside of Thanksgiving,” added Hinton.

The duo does things outside Thanksgiving, like dinners, road trips, and all kinds of things in between.

One thing missing, Dench says, is her number one cheerleader Lonnie, Dench’s husband died from COVID in 2020.

"He was just a part of this as I am. But he did not care to be up in the front with the cameras and stuff. He was fine being in the background,” added Dench. "I miss him a lot. I wish he were here today."

Also cheering on Dench and Hinton is Hinton's long-time girlfriend.

"I am watching that firsthand. They are so genuine. Jamal and Wanda love each other. They are family,” said Mikaela Grubbs.

As for the message the duo hopes you receive.

"You don't have to have anything in common with anybody to be a friend. Get to know them. Sit down. Talk to them,” said Dench.

"Treat people as if they are already your friends until they prove not to be. But, until that moment, always show love,” Hinton said.

Venton Blandin at KNXV first reported this story.