The True Story of Strangers Who Became a Thanksgiving Family Will Soon Be a Netflix Movie

Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench celebrate Thanksgiving

Photo courtesy of Netflix

A text from the wrong “grandma” led to an incredible friendship.

One of the most heartwarming viral stories of the last decade is soon coming to your TV screen.

Netflix has officially announced plans for The Thanksgiving Text, an upcoming film based on the moving story of an unlikely duo who came together for a new holiday tradition that’s been going strong for six years now.

It all began back in 2016, when Jamal Hinton, then a senior in high school, got a text from an unknown number inviting him to a Thanksgiving meal. When he asked who it was from, the sender said, “Your grandma.” Hinton asked for a picture and got back a photo of a woman he didn’t recognize. He responded that she wasn’t his grandma, but added a request: “Can I still get a plate tho?”

The sender, Wanda Dench, replied, “Of course you can. That’s what grandma’s do…feed everyone.”

Hinton did end up showing up for Thanksgiving, and the pair kicked off a years-long friendship — and went viral in the process. Every year, they’ve updated the Internet on the fact that they’re keeping the tradition alive, and it’s brought smiles to millions, along with some tears, too.

In 2020, both Dench and her husband Lonnie got sick with Covid-19, and he ultimately died. In Hinton and Dench’s year five photo, they honored her late spouse’s memory by posing with a picture frame containing a smiling shot of Lonnie, who was no longer there to enjoy the festivities.

The new friends kept the tradition alive in 2021, their sixth year together, and just a few weeks later came Netflix’s exciting announcement.

“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,” Hinton and Dench said in announcing the forthcoming Netflix film. “We are so blessed to find a genuine friendship brought together by God from a mistaken text message.”

The script will be written by Abdul Williams, the screenwriter behind the TV movie Salt-N-Pepa and The Bobby Brown Story. Netflix hasn’t yet announced who will be directing or starring in the movie, but we’re waiting on pins and needles to find out more.

And we’ve already got our tissues ready!