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Instagram, Jamal Hinton, left, new guest Arseni, and Wanda Dench.

Former strangers spent eighth Thanksgiving together after meeting through email mix-up

Two strangers in Arizona who met through a text message sent to the wrong person enjoyed their eighth consecutive Thanksgiving together.

Nearly a decade ago, Wanda Dench accidentally texted Jamal Hinton an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner, news outlets reported. Dench had meant to send the message to her grandson. Hinton realized Dench’s 2016 text was a mistake after she sent a photo of herself to confirm whether she was Hinton’s actual grandmother.

“You’re not my grandma,” Hinton replied with a laughing emoji. Hinton sent back a selfie, so Dench knew he was not her grandson, but she asked if he could stop by for dinner anyway. Dench then welcomed him with open arms.

Now, after eight years of inviting an additional stranger to the dinner, they joined forces with Airbnb to open Dench’s home in Prescott, Ariz. to other people who wanted to share in the Thanksgiving tradition.

“Exciting news, guys — our Thanksgiving year 8 plans are with you!” Hinton posted on X, along with a photo of himself alongside Dench. “With @airbnb’s help, we’re hosting you and a friend.

“Some may recognize us from our viral text mishap that led to our first Thanksgiving together back in 2016. And eight years later, we’re practically family,” the Airbnb listing said. “To commemorate our lasting friendship, we’re excited to become Airbnb hosts and welcome new guests into our holiday tradition, creating meaningful connections in the process.”

The booking included a seat at Hinton and Dench’s annual Thanksgiving table with a traditional dinner, plus a night of playing board games, enjoying holiday movies and taking part in Hinton and Dench’s annual selfie.

This year, a new stranger named Arseni joined them at Wanda’s home.


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A post shared by Airbnb (@airbnb)

“Our year 8 selfie,” Jamal, 24, wrote alongside a photo of himself, Wanda, 66, and their guest on Instagram Nov. 22, one day before the holiday. “Thanks for staying with us, Arseni, and for being part of the good in the world this holiday season #airbnbpartner”

The pair also enjoyed Super Bowl 2022 together. Airbnb said it will make a one-time donation to Feeding America to help provide food and support to the 32 million people in America who face hunger each year.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice


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