It’s been more than six years since a grandmother’s accidental Thanksgiving text created a friendship that would span years.
The story started back in 2016, when Wanda Dench mistakenly texted Jamal Hinton — instead of her biological grandson ‚ to invite him to Thanksgiving. The story quickly went viral on social media, and has continued to warm hearts as the unlikely duo maintain their friendship. The persisting popularity of Jamal and Wanda’s story prompted Netflix to greenlight a movie based on the viral story.
Back in 2016, Dench — an Arizona native — sent out a text to a number she believed to be her grandson’s. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t. Instead, she texted Hinton, a high school senior at the time and complete stranger to Dench and her husband. Despite this fact, she stuck by her invite, and later welcomed Hinton into her home for their first-ever Thanksgiving together.
The act became tradition, as Hinton continued to enjoy Thanksgiving at the Dench house for years after. Their viral story has become a cherished part of the holidays for the millions of people who continue to follow it year after year, thanks to the frequent selfies the duo — along with Dench’s husband and Hinton’s girlfriend — post online.
The story took a painful turn in 2020, when Dench’s husband lost his life to complications from COVID-19. She maintained the Thanksgiving tradition despite her loss, however, and again got to share the special day with Hinton. Their friendship has only grown over the years, closely followed by people around the globe.
Their story will officially be shared with an even broader audience via Netflix’s The Thanksgiving Text. The film will adapt their heartwarming story for the small screen, an idea that Dench and Hinton are both thoroughly behind. In a joint statement, they expressed delight over Netflix’s decision.
“We are excited to share our story with the world. We hope it inspires more people to reach out and make connections that they wouldn’t ordinarily make,” Dench and Hinton said. “We are so blessed to find a genuine friendship brought together by God from a mistaken text message.”
Netflix has yet to announce a cast or director for The Thanksgiving Text, but Abdul Williams has been tapped to write the film’s screenplay.