There are few celebrities as dialed-in with their fan base as Taylor Swift.
The singer has always had a habit of giving back to the people who made her famous, from contributing money to inviting hundreds of foster kids for a free concert and pizza party. Now, the “Reputation” singer is back at it again, this time bringing an 8-year-old fan to her Houston, Texas concert and inviting him to meet her backstage.
Although this was the first time Taylor had met Jacob Hill in person, the two share a story that goes back to 2016. Jacob, who has autism, was five years old when his family discovered his penchant for wandering. Because of his autism he struggled to verbalize his thoughts and feelings, had difficulty following directions, and had no sense of what situations might be dangerous for a little guy.
After doing some research, Jacob’s family decided that the best solution was to get Jacob a service dog from Autism Service Dogs of America (ASDA). These highly trained animals cost $13,500, so Jacob’s family knew they couldn’t afford to get him one unless they asked for help.
His grandmother, Susan Garcia, started a GoFundMe campaign to raise the necessary funds. She wrote:
As Jacob’s Nana, I see first-hand the constant fear that his mom and dad live with knowing that he is always at risk. There have been several instances in which Jacob bolted from his caregivers and immediately ran toward the street. As with many children with autism, Jacob is innately drawn to water and moving cars. Despite his challenges, Jacob is a problem-solver, making him an excellent escape artist! As a result, someone must be assigned to holding on to Jacob to ensure his safety. Consequently, his mom and dad never rest physically or emotionally. And, Jacob doesn’t get to have the independence that every little boy deserves.
In spite of the Hill family’s best efforts, contributions to their cause seemed to dribble rather than pour into the GoFundMe account. Jacob’s sister Jordan decided to do her part to help the donation effort by teaming up with her cousin, Makaylee Duhon, to create a YouTube lip sync video to draw attention to Jacob’s GoFundMe.
The song the two pre-teens decided to sing along to was other than “Blank Space” by Miss Taylor Swift.
The internet being a wacky place where just about anything can happen, somehow Taylor herself wound up seeing Jordan and Makaylee’s video. Not only did she love the girls’ parody, but she clicked the link leading to Jacob’s GoFundMe campaign and made a donation to the cause.
Yes, you read that right. Taylor donated $10,000 for Jacob’s new service dog in the name of herself and her mother, Andrea Swift.
“Jacob, we hope you love your new dog!” the pop superstar wrote. “Please tell your cousins that they did a great job on the song! Love, Taylor and Andrea Swift.”
Incredibly, two years after she made the donation that would change a little boy’s life, Taylor decided to go one step further to make him and his family feel special. When her “Reputation” concert tour brought her to Houston, Taylor sent Jacob and his family front row tickets to the show along with backstage passes so they could finally meet in person for the first time.
At the October 1st show, Jacob and his new best friend, service animal Reid, happily posed for pictures with their unlikely benefactor. In honor of the occasion, Reid even wore his best “I heart Taylor Swift” bandanna!
Jacob’s mom, Allison Hill, said that meeting Taylor was a thrill for them all, and she could not have been kinder to them.
“Taylor Swift was so kind. She said Reid was a big puffball and so cute. She was especially awesome with Jacob,” Allison said. “She didn’t see my son’s disability she just saw him. She got down on her knees and looked him right in the eyes and said hello and that she was thankful HE came to her show even though she knew it was loud and there was so much going on.”
Jacob was instantly comfortable around the singer as well, grabbing her face and saying “Hi Taylor!” Allison explained that verbalization is difficult for Jacob, so he’d been practicing saying that all week. When the time came, he nailed it!
“She was very gracious and acted like him grabbing her face didn’t even phase her. After the picture was taken, the flash scared him so he snuggled right up to her and her sweet smile says it all. My daughter, Jordan, was pumped to meet her. We feel so blessed! Taylor is such an amazing person for doing this for us…again! Jacob made it through almost the entire concert. Taylor is such an autism advocate, we love her!”
This is yet another story about how Taylor sees her fans as actual people, and treats them with the respect and honor they deserve. She’s clearly the kind of role model we need in today’s world — one who goes out of her way to treat people with kindness and generosity!
Please share this story with a T-Swift fan who won’t be a bit surprised by her sweet, generous nature!