Woman recalls 1984 meeting with Michael Jackson
When Ladonna Jones thinks about the King of Pop, she can't help but remember The Kiss
"People ask: 'Did he really kiss you on the cheek or did he give you a peck?' " she said. "He kissed me. He planted his lips on my cheek."
In July 1984, Ladonna, then 11, received national attention after she wrote a letter complaining about the way tickets for the Jacksons' Victory Tour were sold. The Lewisville girl worked hard to scrape together enough cash to buy a $30 ticket for a Texas Stadium performance, only to find out tickets had to be purchased in groups of four. Jackson
heard about the letter and mentioned her name during a press conference. Ladonna received free tickets to see the concert. She met him backstage, where he kissed her
Twenty-five years later, as she reflects on the concert, and Jackson
's death Thursday, Jones says her idol is now at peace.
"I'm relieved he will be happy and he won't have to go through all the scrutiny he's gone through," Jones, 36, of Highland Village said Sunday. "No one will ever come close to matching what he did, not just musically. He changed the world. He helped so many people.
"Who today could die and have the impact that Michael Jackson
But it was Jones herself who made quite the impression on Jackson
– and attracted intense media attention.
Jones did chores for neighbors and baby-sat to save enough money for a concert ticket. But when she learned that you couldn't buy just one ticket, she penned a letter to Jackson
and mailed it to The Dallas Morning News. It ran in the paper
"Dear Michael," she wrote. "I've always believed you to be a person of feeling up until now. I'm so disappointed in you. How could you of all people be so selfish? Is your appearance here in Texas Stadium only for the rich?"
A few days later, Jackson
announced he would donate concert tour money to charity and asked that the ticket-distribution policy be eliminated.
"The other day I got a letter from a girl in Texas named Ladonna Jones," Jackson
The News ran a front-page story with the headline: "Yes, Ladonna, dreams really do come true." She was featured in newspaper and television reports nationwide.
But Jones was a shy girl, so she wasn't thrilled with the media coverage. She said she didn't want to be famous
Jones received four tickets to a Jacksons performance, a limo ride to Texas Stadium and clothing to wear at the show. She wore a jacket with red pinstripes and a shirt featuring the face of her hero.
Backstage, Jones met Jackson
"His hands were so big," she said. "That's what stuck out."
He told her he liked her shirt. He asked her if she liked his music. ("Of course," she told him.)
He autographed an album: "Love, Michael Jackson
1998." (She never figured out why he wrote 1998.)
After the kiss, she was floating.
"I'm going to die," she recalled thinking as she headed back to her seat. "It felt like my legs were going to give out. It was so weird."
When she sat down, people wanted her autograph.
"Here I am, 11 years old, barely learning cursive, and I'm trying to give autographs."
Jones said she feels blessed to have had the chance to meet the pop star and talk with him.
"Nothing in life tops that moment," she said. "Nothing comes close."
Source: Dallas News