Netflix making movie about grandma who accidentally invited teen to Thanksgiving


In this Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016 photo, Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench take a selfie together after meeting at Wanda’s home for Thanksgiving dinner, in Mesa, Ariz. Dench, who accidentally texted Hinton, a stranger, an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner made good on her offer, greeting the teen visitor with a hug and an oven full of food after their story swept through social media. (Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic via AP)

TAMPA (WFLA) — A story of an accidental friendship between a grandmother and a high school senior is now set to be a movie produced by Netflix.

In 2016, Arizona grandmother Wanda Dench sent a text intended for her grandson asking if he’d be coming over for Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, she invited high school senior Jamal Hinton.

After telling Dench he wasn’t her grandson, he asked, “Can I still get a plate tho?”

“I said, ‘Sure you can.’ That’s what grandmas do – they feed everybody,” Dench told NBC affiliate KPNX at the time.

The virtual encounter sparked what would become a tradition for the two would-be friends.

The tradition went on to include Hinton’s family and his girlfriend, persisting even after tragedy struck the Dench family last year when her husband, Lonnie Dench, died from COVID-19 complications.

This year, the pair shared their sixth Thanksgiving together, according to WIAT. A photo of Lonnie Dench was placed at the table with a lit candle, sister station WXIN reported.

Hinton announced the Netflix partnership Thursday on Twitter, saying, “We thank every single one of you for your love and support in our journey the last 6 years.”

He and Dench also said in a statement: “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. We are so blessed to find a genuine friendship brought together by God from a mistaken text message. ”

According to Netflix, the movie will be called “The Thanksgiving Text” and is being written by Abdul Williams, screenwriter for the films “Salt-N-Pepa” and “The Bobby Brown Story.”

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