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Taylor Swift Bonds With Little Girl Struck by Car Before Her Concert

Taylor Swift
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Car accidents are the last thing Taylor Swift‘s fans are thinking about when they walk into her concerts, but for 7-year-old Grace Markel, it was an unfortunate reality.

The little girl was making her way into Swift’s Chicago concert in August when she was hit by a car and severely injured. Thankfully, she is now recovering and finally got to attend a Swift concert on Saturday (Sept. 21). She even got to meet the country-pop sweetheart!

The accident was an emotional and scary time for Grace’s parents, Amy and Will Markel of Columbia, Mo. — she is their only child. After exiting a taxi at the Chicago concert venue with her father, Grace was hit by an SUV traveling 30 miles per hour, operated by a driver who was uninsured and owning a suspended license.

Instead of getting to take in a thrilling concert by her favorite artist, the 7-year-old was treated at the hospital for two skull fractures, a slight left orbital fracture, multiple head lacerations, a severe concussion and road rash over her face and body, according to People.

Grace is still in therapy, but healing up now — and as a celebration, her parents bought her tickets to Swift’s concert in Nashville, where the songstress surprised them by bringing them backstage, greeting Grace by name and hugging her, her mom shares. “She told Grace she had a cold and asked Grace to sing extra loud to help her out,” Mom adds of what Swift said to Grace.

And according to the sweet little girl, who was nervous to meet the singer, Swift is even more incredible in person. Grace gushes that she was even more “nice and tall and pretty” than expected. In addition, Swift thanked her for donning one of her shirts and penned it with her autograph, writing, “I heart Grace! Taylor” — and in true Swift fashion, she hugged her again.

It was also a chance for Mama Swift and Mama Markel to bond. “Taylor’s mother told Grace she was so sorry about what happened to her, and she gave me a hug saying she sympathized with what we’d been through,” Grace’s mother continues. “It was so surreal and amazing.”

“[The meeting] was just a warm and genuine exchange that made it feel like time has stopped, and it was just the two of them,” Amy reminisces.

The best part of the story? Grace was recently cleared to return to school and her activities. “It’s so hard to reconcile what we witnessed at the time of the accident with her amazing recovery,” her mother concludes. “We feel so very lucky and blessed.”

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