"We are all set for year 6!" tweeted Jamal Hinton, 22, along with a photo of himself, his girlfriend, Mikaela, and Wanda Dench, 64. The post now has more than 1.2 million likes on Twitter.
"It's become a huge part of our lives," Hinton told "Good Morning America" in 2020. "It's great being part of something so loving and having people around the world to talk to us and being touched by our story."
It all started when Dench sent a text inviting who she believed to be her grandson to Thanksgiving dinner. It turned out she texted Hinton, then 17, instead.
Hinton replied, asking for a photo to confirm whether it was actually his grandmother behind the text. A picture came of a woman with blonde hair and glasses who was not his grandma. He sent a picture of himself to her, along with a laughing emoji and wrote, "You not my grandma. Can I still get a plate tho?"
Dench responded, "Of course you can," and Hinton joined the Dench family for a Thanksgiving feast. The exchange became a heartwarming viral moment online and marked the beginning of a long-standing friendship for the two.
As a part of the tradition, Hinton tweets a photo of himself with his "second family" enjoying Thanksgiving together every year.
Despite Dench's husband, Lonnie Dench, dying from complications of COVID-19 in April 2020, the families kept the tradition going.