The Thanksgiving Text Message Mistake
No matter the trials and tribulations we may be experiencing, we can still find something to be thankful for each day.
In 2016, Wanda Dench sent a group text to invite her grandsons to Thanksgiving dinner. But one had changed his number, meaning her message went to another recipient, Jamal Hinton, then 17 and a high school senior.
When the text mistake became clear, Hinton asked if he could still have a plate and attend the holiday dinner.
"Of course, you can," Dench, who lives in Arizona, replied. "That’s what grandmas do... feed everyone.”
And with that, a cherished Thanksgiving ritual was born.
Hinton shared the exchange on Twitter — and it quickly became a heartwarming, viral hit of two strangers' lives intersecting unexpectedly and a lesson in genuine and deep friendship.
Somebody grandma is coming in clutch this year!! Ayee!!!
— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12)
Nov 15, 2016
Today marks the seventh year that Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton will join each other for Thanksgiving. While a lot has changed in both of their respective lives, including the passing of Wanda Dench’s husband, Lonnie, two years ago, they've still found a way to continue the beloved tradition while celebrating life, gratitude, fate, friendship and family.
“Family is more than blood,” Wanda said in a 2018 Thanksgiving video. “It’s the people you want to be with and you just feel good with.”
Regardless of our titles as leaders or the different hats we wear daily, this inspiring story and fateful connection has some timeless lessons.
- It costs absolutely nothing to be kind. We shouldn't do this for ulterior motives or because we want something in return, but instead because it's the right thing to do. We truly never know how the simple act and practice of kindness can change the trajectory of someone’s day or even life.
- Though we may come from different backgrounds or walks of life, these connections can become our most influential teachers if we remain open to learning more about ourselves and others.
As we gather with family, friends and loved ones today and in the weeks ahead, let's remember that we don't have to wait for special occasions to convey to people around us that we're grateful for their presence in our lives.
If this year continues to teach us anything, it’s that life is precious ― and can be here one day and gone the next.
No matter the trials and tribulations we may be experiencing, we can still find something to be thankful for each day — while spreading more kindness and expanding our hearts and minds.