For the last four years Jamal and Wanda’s story of two strangers coming together warmed our hearts. This year the same tradition continues however with one less plate on the table.
The story began back in 2016, when Wanda Dench accidentally texted 17 year-old Jamal Hinton to invite him to her Thanksgiving dinner, thinking he was her grandson. The exchange started with Jamal’s confused text ‘Who is those…’ to which Wanda replied ‘Your grandma.’ Puzzled, Jamal went on to ask for her photo. After both sides realized that they were actually complete strangers, Jamal jokingly asked ‘Can I still get a plate tho?, and Wanda replied ‘Of course you can. That’s what grandma’s do, feed every one.’
Hinton attended the holiday meal with Dench’s family and the relationship stuck. Ever since then, Jamal spent every Thanksgiving with Wanda, and her husband, Lonnie. Later on, Jamal’s girlfriend Mikaela also joined the tradition. Last year they even shook things up by having the Dench’s over at Jamal’s for Thanksgiving dinner.
But earlier in 2020, both Wanda and Lonnie tested positive for COVID-19. Jamal announced the update in his twitter account asking everyone to send words of love and encouragement their way. After a long difficult battle, Lonnie passed away on April 5th this year. Jamal broke the news to the world with the following tweet, ‘As some of you may have already found out tonight, Lonnie did not make it. He passed away Sunday morning, but Wanda told me all the love and support he was receiving put a huge smile on his face so I thank every single one of you guys for that.
I am so sad to announce that Wanda and Lonnie both have COVID-19 and that Lonnie is currently in the hospital fighting both COVID and Pneumonia please send words of love and encouragement their way 💛🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/tUNpUB20qg
— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12) April 2, 2020
As some of you may have already found out tonight Lonnie did not make it… he passed away Sunday morning😔 but Wanda told me all the love and support he was receiving put a huge smile on his face so I thank every single one of you guys for that!🙏🏽❤️ https://t.co/tNvals0FMh
— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12) April 9, 2020
The pair was married for 43 years. This will undoubtedly be a difficult Thanksgiving for Wanda without her husband Lonnie.
However, Wanda, and Jamal are determined to continue the long tradition. Hinton said ‘It’s become a huge part of our lives’. Jamal, and Mikaela wanted to make sure that Wanda wasn’t lonely, so they decided to have an early mini thanksgiving with Wanda, her daughter, and the real grandson.
Video Created By: Anes Hasi