Dolly Parton is a star who will go out on a limb for a devoted fan.
She proved it when she spent Saturday at a restaurant in her Dollywood theme park with Gage Blackwell, a young fan with Down syndrome. Not only did she hang out, hug and chat with Gage, Dolly even performed a handful of hit songs, with Gage as her backup singer.
“There are truly no words to explain how much it meant to Gage, myself and my family for him to get to meet Dolly in person,” Gage’s mother, Lynnae Blackwell, told Today.com. “Gage loves country music and for him to get to sit with and sing with someone he idolizes like Dolly was just heartwarming.”
Today.com then asked Gage if he had fun. He replied, “I sure did… she is one of my favorite singers.”
In a series of video clips posted to Gage’s public Facebook page, fans can watch the touching moment Gage meets Parton and they sing together.
“Is that Kenny Rogers?” Parton asks as she meets him. “You look like Kenny Rogers! Did anybody ever tell you that?”
The pair sang a handful of Parton’s hits, plus Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”
“We may be going on the road before you know it,” Parton said to Gage after he joined her in singing “9 to 5.” “We’re gonna have to put your name on the side of my bus: Gage and Dolly. How’s that sound?”
Gage replied, “That’d be great!”
Lynnae said the meeting was made possible after a friend encouraged her to reach out to Parton’s business manager. Dollywood is less than five hours from the Blackwells’ home in Lynnville, Tennessee, and Gage has talked in videos on his Facebook page about how he’d love to meet Parton.
“Dolly made him feel like the most important person in the room,” Lynnae said. “She was so amazing to just embrace him the way she did. He will never forget her kindness and, as his mother, I will always be grateful for the love she showed to my wonderful son.”