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Teen Who Was Accidentally Invited to 'Grandma's' for Thanksgiving Celebrates 6th Holiday with Her

·3-min read
Jamal Hinton
Jamal Hinton

Jamal Hinton/Instagram Jamal Hinton with Wanda Dench and his girlfriend Mikaela at Thanksgiving 2021

With every year that passes, Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench are increasingly thankful to be in each other's lives.

The duo, who first met in 2016 after Dench accidentally invited Hinton over for dinner in a text message meant for her grandson, celebrated their sixth Thanksgiving together on Thursday.

To mark the occasion, Hinton — who recently confirmed that they would be together for the holiday — snapped a photo with Dench, 64, and his girlfriend Mikaela at the gathering.

"Thanksgiving 2021," wrote Hinton, 22, who shared photos from their previous five celebrations in the Instagram post. "6 years strong💛🦃"

He also shared a sweet photo on Twitter, showing him, Dench and Mikaela smiling while holding up a painting and photo of Dench's late husband Lonnie, who tragically died in April 2020 after a battle with COVID-19.

RELATED: 'Year 6!' Teen Who Was Accidentally Invited to 'Grandma's' Thanksgiving Keeps Tradition Going

The pals met in November 2016 when Dench accidentally sent Hinton, then 17, a text message inviting him over for dinner, instead of her 24-year-old grandson. There was some initial confusion, and the two sent selfies to each other that confirmed the mix-up.

Dench later learned that her grandson had switched his number, but when Hinton asked if he could still come over for dinner, she texted back, "Of course you can. That's what grandmas do … feed everyone," according to ABC News.

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jamal-hinton-2

Jamal Hinton Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench

RELATED: Grandma Will Reunite with Stranger Accidentally Invited to Her Thanksgiving for 4th Year in a Row

The two ended up forming an unlikely friendship, with Hinton previously telling PEOPLE that "it was so unexpected, but she was just so sweet about it."

"It was a reminder that there are still some good people left in this world," he said. "She is a very sweet lady... I just got a vibe from her that made me feel at home."

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jamal-hinton-1.jpg

Jamal Hinton Wanda and Lonnie Dench with Jamal Hinton and his girlfriend Mikaela

Dench was also impressed by their first meeting, recalling to NBC Nightly News how she and Hinton had immediate chemistry.

"I just clicked when I met him and first talked to him," she explained to the outlet. "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I want to get to know this guy.' "

Since then, neither has let Thanksgiving pass without continuing their annual tradition, even when Lonnie died from COVID.

Each year, Hinton documents the holiday on his social media by snapping photos with Dench in her Arizona home.

RELATED VIDEO: 'Thanksgiving Grandma' Keeps Tradition Alive Years After Text Mix-Up, Despite Pandemic

He has also spent time with Dench outside of Thanksgiving, including in 2019 when he and Mikaela met Dench and Lonnie at a pumpkin patch, according to Hinton's Instagram.

"Blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives," Hinton wrote of a 2019 selfie with Dench and her now-late husband.

On Nov. 14, Hinton announced on Twitter that he would be meeting up with Dench on Thanksgiving for the sixth year.

"We are all set for year 6!" Hinton wrote beside a screenshot of a text message from Dench inviting him for Thanksgiving once again, and a photo with him, Dench, Lonnie and Mikaela.

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