In 2016, Wanda Dench accidentally texted Jamal Hinton, believing she was inviting her grandson over for the annual Thanksgiving family feast.
Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton honored her late husband, Lonnie, at a dinner on Friday, forgoing their usual Thanksgiving get-together for the first time in four years.
The pair became a viral sensation in 2016 when Wanda accidentally texted Jamal, believing she was inviting her grandson over for the annual Thanksgiving family feast. After discovering their lines were crossed, Jamal asked if he could “still get a plate” at her house, with Wanda responding, “Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do — feed everyone.”
Having met up for the holiday every year since, Wanda and Jamal decided to have a small gathering this year to follow coronavirus guidelines, according to The New York TImes. They still wanted to include Lonnie, who died in April from Covid-19. So while sharing a casual meal, they placed a burning candle on the table alongside a photograph of Lonnie, per pictures shared by CBS reporter Briana Whitney.
“It’s going to be different, my first Thanksgiving without him,” Wanda told The Times. “My husband was always right behind me, telling me how proud he was of Jamal and me for what we’ve done.”
She went on to say her husband, whom she met when she was 20 and described it as love at first sight, was “always true to himself.”
“He was the person I wanted to be like.”
It may be a little early, but Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without Wanda & Jamal.
In 2016 they went viral when she accidentally texted him instead of her real grandson.
— Briana Whitney (@BrianaWhitney) November 21, 2020
Jamal added, “I always remember Lonnie looking at the bright side of things. He would want us to celebrate his life instead of hating COVID and hating everything.”
In April, Jamal shared the news of Lonnie’s passing on Twitter, writing, “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!🙏🏽”
At the time, he also let followers know that Wanda had recovered from her own Covid-19 diagnosis.
“I’m just grateful that we are here, we are together,” Jamal said to the Times on Saturday. “I don’t know what I would be doing for the holidays this year, last year or years before if I didn’t have Wanda in my life, so I’m just grateful.”