Wanda Dench, the kind-hearted grandmother who went viral for accidentally inviting a stranger to Thanksgiving back in 2016, has tragically lost her husband to the deadly virus.
Keep scrolling to read the full story...
In 2016, a cell phone number mishap led to the most unlikely of friendships.
via: TwitterWe all remember hearing the heartwarming story of Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench, who came into contact as a total accident at Thanksgiving.
As we all know, Thanksgiving is one of the most heartwarming times of the year...
via: GettyAnd is a time for good food, family, friends, and laughter.
And we all know that the feast is the highlight.
via: Getty ImagesRoast turkey, stuffing, cornbread, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie... what's not to love?
But, most importantly, it is the time to be thankful for the people you have in your life.
via: GettyAnd, while most choose to celebrate with their closest friends and family members, others open their homes to strangers too.
Back in 2016, during the lead up to Thanksgiving, something pretty strange happened to Jamal Hinton.
via: TwitterYou may remember that the then-teenage Jamal went viral for a cell phone number mishap that brought him and a complete stranger together for the holidays.
It all happened when Wanda Dench, now sixty-two, thought she was texting her grandson to invite him to Thanksgiving.
via: FacebookBut, instead, she actually texted Jamal.
He was accidentally added to the Thanksgiving family group chat...And, when Jamal replied asking who was texting him, Wanda innocently and hilariously replied, "Your grandma."
Jamal then responded by asking for a photo to see if it was his own grandma behind the text.But he was left shocked when the picture that came in was of a woman with blonde hair and glasses - Certainly not Jamal's grandma.
Yep, quite clearly not his own relative."[You're] not my grandma," Jamal replied with a laughing emoji.
And of course, he then returned the favor...Jamal, who is from Phoenix, Arizona, sent back a selfie to let her know he was not her grandson.
But, despite not knowing each other, Jamal didn't want to pass up the thanksgiving offering.
via: TwitterClearly touched by the sweet text-message exchange, he asked if he could stop by for dinner anyway.
Jamal tweeted out the conversation where it was quick to go viral.
Somebody grandma is coming in clutch this year!! Ayee!!! https://t.co/QGrx83nHLl— Jamal Hinton (@Jamal Hinton)1479247134.0
And on Thanksgiving, Grandma kept her end of the deal.
via: TwitterWanda confirmed that Jamal had indeed come over for Thanksgiving dinner, making the drive to Mesa, Arizona and that it was destiny that the two met.
And the best part?
via: ABC NewsThe pair decided to make a tradition out of the mishap, and have spent Thanksgiving together for the last 4 years.
They've met up every year since their group chat mishap.
2016, 2017...... 2018 ❤️ https://t.co/0ZNA54uGAS— Jamal Hinton (@Jamal Hinton)1542936940.0
Last year Hinton posted a video on YouTube, documenting his and Wanda's holiday dinner.Wanda explained in the video that she grew up in the military - her father was in the Navy and her husband was also in the Army. "We moved around a lot so I was always going to new places. And so strangers were not strangers to me," she explained. "Family is more than blood, it's the people you want to be with."
They are now firm friends.
https://t.co/rU6NbB0KTl 2019 thanksgiving video!!🦃🦃^ https://t.co/jlr6eIU5Ls— Jamal Hinton (@Jamal Hinton)1574991825.0
And last year, Jamal decided to host the festivities.
We went to the pumpkin patch today 🎃 https://t.co/91q9yMJAoa— Jamal Hinton (@Jamal Hinton)1572051327.0
Jamal says he "feels great" that their wholesome tradition has continued in the years since they first met.
via: YouTube"[Wanda] is a really good person," he explained to Good Morning America. "I really enjoy the time I spend with her."
It is the most heartwarming thing.
As promised! Here’s our 2019 update 🦃 @mikaela_autumn https://t.co/hHGZUXYzr3— Jamal Hinton (@Jamal Hinton)1574987862.0
Both Wanda and her husband, Lonnie, have been diagnosed with the deadly virus...
via: FacebookAnd, according to Jamal, Wanda is currently in hospital with both the respiratory virus and pneumonia.
He took to Twitter to share the damning news...
I am so sad to announce that Wanda and Lonnie both have COVID-19 and that Lonnie is currently in the hospital fight… https://t.co/fh3n84t1q5— Jamal Hinton (@Jamal Hinton)1585787434.0
But things took a turn for the worst yesterday...
via: TwitterLonnie tragically passed away last night.
Jamal shared a heartbroken tweet...
As some of you may have already found out tonight Lonnie did not make it... he passed away Sunday morning😔 but Wand… https://t.co/WbkDfWtuOg— Jamal Hinton (@Jamal Hinton)1586404707.0
This is utterly devastating...
via: TwitterAnd we send our deepest condolences and love to Wanda's family during this difficult time.