Covid death hits kindhearted couple who sparked viral Thanksgiving tradition

A grandmother who accidentally invited a stranger to Thanksgiving four years ago tragically lost her husband to Covid as "relentless 2020" strikes again.

Wanda Dench had tried to text her grandson to invite him to Thanksgiving dinner four years ago when she accidentally reached out to Jamal Hinton.

Jamal, then 17, asked for a picture and told the woman he was not his grandma, but still asked for a plate at the dinner table.

She then replied "of course, that’s what Grandma’s do, feed everyone," beginning a heartwarming tradition for an unlikely pair of friends.

Posting a picture with Wanda, her husband, Lonnie, and the text exchange, the internet went crazy for the trio and the family have met up every Thanksgiving since.

Sadly, 2020’s picture Thanksgiving didn’t include Lonnie, who died from coronavirus in April.

Instead, Wanda, Jamal and Jamal’s girlfriend, held up a beaming picture of Lonnie, in a post that saddened social media users.

One Reddit user said: "Wow, 2020 is really relentless. The world has lost a good person."

A second said: "Beautiful to tradition to keep alive. RIP to Lonnie. What a year."

"With so much wrong in the world, there is so much right about this. RIP Lonnie," added a third.

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For many, the friendship represents what Thanksgiving is all about, with one commenting: "I remember the first year this happened! I’m so happy this became a tradition! You are definitely shining a light on the true meaning of this holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!"

Another said: "I have tears in my eyes, I'm so sorry for your loss but I look forward to these pictures every year!"

"Lonnie would be happy you're all still smiling and getting together, RIP, what a lovely little family," a third said.

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