How an 11-year-old Iowa superfan got to meet her pop idol, Michael McDonald
Des Moines, Iowa — While most tweens in America might fawn over the likes of Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber or Harry Styles, 11-year-old Paisley Gardner of Des Moines has a different idol, a boy she kept hearing on the radio.
"Sounds like an angel, somehow," Gardner told CBS News.
Parents Tony and Jessica said they didn't know what to think, when a few months ago, their daughter became obsessed with that buttery smooth voice of 1970s soft rock legend Michael McDonald.
They said Paisley was smitten.
"So one day, she Googled a picture of Michael McDonald, and she came running up the stairs and flailed herself on the bed and was like, 'nooo!'" Jessica Gardner said.
Her pop star turned out to be a 71-year-old grandpop.
"I just had to deal with it, but it's ok," Paisley said.
So last month, Tony got tickets to see McDonald in Des Moines for $7 apiece, and then surprised Paisley with the concert of her lifetime. McDonald is on tour with the Doobie Brothers.
"And I almost screamed," Paisley said when she found out.
Paisley says she was the youngest fan in the audience by a generation, and the only one who actually got to talk to McDonald, sort of.
"Michael, you're my favorite," Paisley yelled during the show, and said she got a response.
"He said 'thank you' to me!"
But it wasn't quite enough. Following the show, Paisley spoke to CBS News about how cool it would have been to have a real talk with McDonald.
And to her surprise, she suddenly got that opportunity over Zoom.
"How are you, darling?" McDonald asked a shocked Paisley, who started to cry, but then recovered for a nice conversation.
"Is your best friend Christopher Cross?" Paisley asked McDonald.
"Well, he's one of my best friends," McDonald told her.
Then, McDonald gave her an even nicer invitation.
"We'll have you see the show from backstage maybe, how's that?" McDonald asked her.
A sweet gift for a girl who knows there's so much more to music appreciation than the hair color.
Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.