You Can Spend Thanksgiving in Arizona with the Internet’s Favorite Accidental Friends—Here’s How

Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton, the duo who captured our hearts after they serendipitously met in 2016, are hosting an early Thanksgiving dinner and overnight Airbnb stay in Prescott Valley.

Selfie of Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton

Get in on a holiday selfie with Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton.

Courtesy of Airbnb

Every once in a while, a story makes the news for all the right reasons. The tale of how Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench met and became friends is one of those stories, one with a happy and heartwarming ending (which is probably why so many of us love it so much).

The two met in 2016 after Hinton received an accidental text from an unknown phone number with an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner. The text was from Dench, who had meant to send it to her grandson but sent it to Hinton instead (who is not her grandson). The two had never met before this classic tech gaff.

After figuring out it was a mixup, Hinton texted Dench, “Can I still get a plate tho?” She responded, “Of course you can ... that’s what grandmas do … feed everyone.”

They ended up meeting and their story went viral. Nearly 10 years later, they remain friends.

For anyone who would love to learn more about their chance encounter and lasting friendship, Hinton and Dench are co-hosting an early Thanksgiving dinner and Airbnb stay at Dench’s home in Prescott Valley, Arizona, about an hour and a half north of Phoenix and Scottsdale.

The kitchen in Wanda Dench's Prescott Valley, Arizona, home

Gather in the kitchen and around the table at Wanda Dench’s Prescott Valley home.

Courtesy of Airbnb

The one-night stay will take place a few days before the actual Thanksgiving holiday—on Monday, November 20—and is available to two guests who will be hosted in a private room in Dench’s home and will join Hinton and Dench for a Thanksgiving-inspired meal complete with some of their traditions, including an annual selfie.

The Airbnb booking will be made available at 11 a.m. MST on Tuesday, November 14 (so mark your calendars if you want to try for the coveted seat at their dinner table) and will only cost $16 (in honor of the year Hinton and Dench first met).

Guest bedroom in Wanda Dench's Prescott Valley Airbnb

With full bellies and hearts, two lucky guests will rest well after spending an early Thanksgiving with Dench and Hinton.

Courtesy of Airbnb

If you miss out on this unique stay but are craving an Arizona getaway (perhaps with your own lifelong pal), you can book into one of our favorite Sedona Airbnbs for a red rock-fueled escape, or dive into our Scottsdale guide for things to do and places to stay in this chic enclave outside Phoenix. Another epic option? A road trip from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon.

Michelle Baran is a deputy editor at Afar where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined Afar in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.
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