PHOENIX (WPDE/AP News) —Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench's friendship is still going strong, even after six years!
Hinton, 21, and Dench met in 2016 after the grandmother from the Phoenix suburb of Mesa texted her grandson about coming for Thanksgiving to a number that belonged to Hinton.
Hinton jokingly replied he would like to come. Dench told him he was welcome.
Hinton tweeted screenshots of their exchange and subsequent meeting. Four years later, their continuing joint celebration has turned into a tradition that social media users have come to expect every Thanksgiving. Dench has been dubbed “Thanksgiving Grandma” on the internet.
“We are all set for year 6!” Hinton posted Sunday on Twitter, acknowledging that it will be the sixth straight year they have spent Thanksgiving together.
Hinton reached back out when she and her husband, Lonnie, contracted COVID-19 in March. Dench had a mild case but Lonnie Dench had to be hospitalized and died in April.
After her husband’s death, Dench said Hinton and his girlfriend dropped off a care package and a flash drive with video sympathy messages collected from social media.
Last year, Hinton and Dench celebrated a mini Thanksgiving dinner in Lonnie Dench’s honor.
The table included a photo of Lonnie Dench and a candle in front of an empty chair.
“I miss him, but I know he’s in a good place,” Dench said.