How an 11-year-old superfan got to meet her idol, Michael McDonald

Publish Date
Monday, 10 July 2023, 4:33PM

While most kids her age are crazy about Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, or Harry Styles, 11-year-old Paisley Gardner from Des Moines, Iowa has a different idol, one whom she kept hearing on the radio.

"He sounds like an angel, somehow," Paisley excitedly told CBS News.

Paisley's parents, Tony and Jessica, didn't quite know what to make of it when their daughter became obsessed with the smooth, melodic voice of '70s soft rock legend, Michael McDonald.

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"Paisley was head over heels," Jessica said.

One day, Paisley decided to Google a picture of Michael McDonald, and what happened next was priceless.

"She ran up the stairs, flailed herself on the bed, and exclaimed, 'Nooo!'" Jessica said in an interview with CBS News.

Her pop star crush turned out to be a 71-year-old grandpa, but that didn't stop Paisley from being infatuated.

"I just had to deal with it, but it's ok," Paisley shrugged.

Fast forward to last month when Tony managed to snag $7 tickets for the Des Moines concert and surprise Paisley with the news. Her reaction was priceless.

Paisley proudly claimed the title of the youngest fan in the audience by a generation. But she didn't just settle for watching the show from a distance.

During the concert, Paisley mustered up the courage to shout, "Michael, you're my favourite!" And guess what? She got a response.

"He said 'thank you' to me!" Paisley exclaimed, beaming with joy.

After the show, Paisley spoke to CBS News again about her dream of having a real conversation with McDonald. Little did she know, that was about to happen! 

Michael jumped into the Zoom, surprising Paisley and she had the sweetest reaction. 

"How are you, darling?" Michael asked a shocked Paisley, who started to cry but then recovered for a nice conversation.

Michael even invited her back to the show again, this time to watch from backstage! 

Such a sweet moment that she's sure to remember forever!

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