in , , ,

Grandma And Teen From Viral Story Determined To Continue Thanksgiving Tradition After Her Husband’s Death


2016 feels like a thousand years ago.

Things were absolutely not ideal back then, but at least we weren’t shouldering the difficulties of a global public health catastrophe.

And with concerns about virus transmission casting a massive cloud over the Thanksgiving holiday this year, we can’t help but call to mind a much quainter Thanksgiving anecdote from four years ago.

In 2016, the internet went wild over an adorable story spurred by an accidental text message to the wrong number.

Wanda Dench accidentally sent a text inviting Jamal Hinton to Thanksgiving dinner at her house. She meant to send it to her grandson.

Both Dench and Hinton were open-minded enough to share the meal together anyway, and it set into motion an inter-generational friendship and an annual tradition: a shared Thanksgiving each year.

A 2019 tweet proved that the tradition was going strong three years after it began.

People on the internet totally loved witnessing the heartwarming story.ย 

But Dench and Hinton’s wonderful tradition, like so many across the world, was dealt a tragic blow when they encountered the harsh realities of the pandemic.ย 

In April 2020, Hinton shared the news that both Dench and her husband, Lonnie had come down with the virus.

And just a week later, Hinton shared another update informing that Lonnie passed away.

The internet was heartbroken.ย 

But Hinton and Dench were not about to take 2020 laying down.

As Hinton shared in an interview with “Good Morning America,” he’s been quarantining for two weeksย so he and Dench can still get together for the holiday.

He went on to explain how much he values his friendship with Dench.ย 

“It’s become a huge part of our lives.”ย 

“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.”

Hinton and Dench’s story somehow has managed to capture both the tragedy of 2020 alongside the wonderful human capacity to remain connected and hopeful in the face of all this hardship.

Eric Spring

Written by Eric Spring

Eric Spring lives in New York City. He has poor vision and cooks a good egg. Most of his money is spent on live music and produce. He usually wears plain, solid color sweatshirts without hoods because he assumes loud patterns make people expect something big. Typically, he'll bypass a handshake and go straight for the hug.