Anyone recovering from a serious injury in a hospital has to do it mostly alone during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but a Montana woman got an unexpected visit from her favorite country singer, Reba McEntire.

Aspen Allen tells Taste of Country she wasn't sure she'd walk again when she was laying in a hospital room, alone, aside from a single visitor per day. Nurses were changing her IV when she got a call from a friend who asked her to FaceTime. When she did, she saw the legendary redheaded country singer and actor smiling, ready to wish her well.

“I cried like a little girl,” Allen says. “It was hard to be in the hospital and being told that one day you might not walk, and then getting a call from Reba just like brought up my morale completely.”

This video shows it all, including McEntire's classy gesture to doctors and nurses at the very end:

Allen was helping her father on her family's Red Lodge, Mont., cattle ranch in mid-May when she fell trying to get on a horse: The experienced rider had a foot in the stirrup when something spooked the animal, she says. She felt numbness immediately but was able to walk; however, by the time she got to the hospital, she couldn't move her legs.

"I burst fractured my T12, so they fused T10 through L4. And I now have two rods and eight screws in my back," the 21-year-old says.

Courtesy of Aspen Allen

After three days in ICU, Allen was moved to an ortho neuro floor before being moved to Craig Hospital in Denver. Things were still very touchy three days after the accident, with the nursing student saying she'd had many ups and downs. That's when a family friend named Dawn Ann Ritter called. Ritter is friends with McEntire, and one day, she mentioned Allen's accident.

“I was so happy," Allen says about the call. "She’s like, literally, ever since I can remember and even when I was little everyone was like, ‘How do you even know who Reba is?’ Her TV show and her music just — I love Reba and it was just amazing.

“It came at the perfect time," she adds. "It was very special.”

Courtesy of Aspen Allen

This story has a happy ending. Just days into an expected 30-day stay at Craig, she started to show progress. Allen's goal was to be out in 20 days, but she returned home in just eight days, fully able to walk again. She's taking it easy for now, as one leg is weaker than the other, but she's got her eye on a summer or fall trip to Nashville to make good on McEntire's promise.

"She said she was praying for me every day and she can’t wait until I can walk and, when I’m in Nashville, give me a big hug," Allen says.

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