Grandma Who Texted Wrong Number Marks 6th Thanksgiving With New Friend

It doesn't take long to find out how passionate certain corners of the internet can be, but it's still hard to predict what can keep them invested in this age of constant news cycles and short attention spans.

So when someone finds a way to capture the internet's heart and inspire fond check-ins years after the story that put them on the map, they must be someone special.

And after she texted the wrong number shortly before Thanksgiving one year, one Arizona woman and her young friend have proven themselves to be precisely that special.

That's why it's doing a lot of hearts good to know that their wholesome holiday tradition is showing no signs of stopping no matter what it's had to overcome.

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving back in 2016, 64-year-old Wanda Dench thought she was texting her 24-year-old grandson.

But as People reported, he had recently changed his number so she ended up sending that invite to 22-year-old Jamal Hinton.

Although he neither recognized the names she mentioned nor the woman herself, he jokingly asked if he could still come anyway.

And as we can see, Dench was more than happy to have Hinton at her table, saying, "That's what grandma's do...feed every one."

This wholesome exchange made the pair go viral, but their new fans were all the more delighted when they actually made good on their promise to meet each other.

And they were even happier when this chance encounter became the start of a cozy family tradition for each of them, as Hinton and his partner Mikaela would become very close with Dench and her husband Lonnie over the next few years.

As she said about the start of their friendship, "I just clicked when I met him and first talked to him. I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I want to get to know this guy.'"

For his part, Hinton said about Dench, "I just got a vibe from her that made me feel at home."

Unfortunately, this comforting tradition would face a difficult challenge with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not only would both Dench and Lonnie end up contracting the virus, but it would soon claim Lonnie's life on April 5, 2020.

As Hinton said in an Instagram post memorializing him at the time, "Wanda told me all the love and support he was receiving put a huge smile on his face so I thank every single one of you guys for that!"

But while the tragedy certainly cast a dark shadow over that year, it didn't stop Dench and Hinton from keeping their tradition alive.

In Hinton's words, "This Thanksgiving, along with all the holidays coming up, aren't going to be the same as past ones but we will make the best of it."

Indeed, they took the same photo together that they had in years prior. But this time, they included a photo of Lonnie to show he was there in spirit.

And in a tweet Hinton made on November 14, he revealed that this Thanksgiving will see him bring his family to his beloved "Grandma Wanda's" house so they can be the comforting presence she once was for him.

As he put it, "We are all set for year 6!"

h/t: People