Amy and Will Markel, of Columbia, Mo., bought their only child, Grace, a huge Swift fan, tickets to the singer's Chicago concert on Aug. 10.
While exiting a taxi at the concert venue with her father, Grace was hit by an SUV traveling 30 miles per hour. The driver was uninsured and had a suspended license.
Grace's dream night turned into a nightmare ordeal: Instead of attending her idol's concert, the little girl spent the following two days at Children's Mercy Hospital, where she was treated after suffering two skull fractures, a slight left orbital fracture, multiple head lacerations, a severe concussion, and road rash over her face and body.
When Swift, 23, emerged from her dressing room, "Taylor greeted Grace by her name and immediately knelt down and hugged her," Markel's mom tells PEOPLE. "She told Grace she had a cold and asked Grace to sing extra loud to help her out."
Swift thanked the little girl for wearing one of her shirts and autographed the sleeve with, "I heart Grace! Taylor," before putting her arms around the little girl for photos and giving Grace another huge hug before taking the stage.
Although Grace was nervous to meet the singer, she said Swift was even more "nice and tall and pretty" than she expected.
"[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 says.
And, just like in many of Swift's songs, there is an inspiring and happy ending: 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," Grace's mother says. "We feel so very lucky and blessed."
Source - People Magazine