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It’s Time for the Annual Thanksgiving Reunion Between a Grandma and the Young Man She Texted by Mistake

"We are all set for year 6!"

Jamal, Wanda, and the family

Everyone has their own set of traditions when it comes to Thanksgiving. Back when I was growing up, I had a cousin who would hit up three different houses for food (I have no idea how his stomach survived). My wife and I typically make anything BUT turkey (it’s too much bird for two people), and my mom, on occasion, will make lasagna in honor of my late brother because that’s the dish he would always ask for.

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For Jamal Hinton, there’s a Thanksgiving tradition that’s been going on for six years, and it’s one that the entire Internet watched happen back in 2016.

Wanda (or rather Grandma Wanda) sent the following message to Jamal. “It would bring me great joy if you, Mikaela and your family would come to my house on Thanksgiving day to share good food and great conversation. Your friend always, Wanda.”

Can I still get a plate tho?

In case you need a refresher as to why a tweet about a Thanksgiving invite would have over a million likes in two days, here’s the story behind Grandma Wanda and Jamal.

Back in 2016, a woman named Wanda Dench did what you’d expect any grandma to do when Thanksgiving is approaching: she messaged her grandson to remind him what time dinner was. However, as she asked whether or not he was coming, she got a response asking who she was.

“Your grandma,” she responded back, only to receive an inquiry asking for a picture as proof of her being the text recipient’s grandmother.

She sent a selfie and soon discovered that she was not, in fact, this person’s grandma. The person on the other end (Jamal) jokingly responded with, “Can I still get a plate tho?”

I’m pretty sure Jamal didn’t expect any sort of response, let alone one that said that he could come over and eat. Most of us ignore wrong numbers once we realize that it’s the wrong person. But Wanda replied with, “Of course you can. That’s what grandma’s do… feed everyone.”

I mean, she’s not wrong.

The two have been celebrating Thanksgiving ever since (and other occasions outside of Thanksgiving, too). This will be the sixth year that this grandma has fed Jamal and his loved ones.

My heart is so full right now

This isn’t a Thanksgiving tradition I consciously have. I don’t spend my days wondering what happened to that grandma who accidentally sent a text to the wrong guy. Instead, it’s a story I see come across my timeline, and when I do, it always puts a smile on my face.

Apparently, Twitter feels the same way, though there is a bit of sadness with it this year.

Lonnie was Wanda’s husband, and unfortunately, he died from COVID last year. As many on social media are expressing their excitement about Wanda and Jamal coming together again, they’re also taking time to celebrate Lonnie.

It’s amazing how wholesome this app can be sometimes.

As someone who is firmly on team “Found Family” and “A Lot of My Most Important Relationships Were Made Online,” seeing this story, and the reaction to this story, will warm my heart for the rest of the week.

I don’t need a plate, Miss Wanda (unless you really wanna mail me one, I don’t think I could make the trip out there), but I wish you all the best.

(Image: Jamal Hinton on Instagram/@jamalhinton12)

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Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)

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