Hank and Cindy Inman couldn’t have fathomed that their trip to a Nashville concert in late August would end in an emergency room.
They also couldn’t have imagined that they’d be surprised with tickets to a pair of events at Bridgestone Arena in the coming weeks.
The Inmans, along with their daughters Madison and Layla, as well as Shalanna Churchwell and Reagan Michael, were traveling home to Savannah, Tennessee after attending the One Direction concert in Nashville, when Hank swerved to avoid deer in the road, ultimately losing control of their vehicle.
The girls suffered a multitude of injuries, all eventually ending up at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for treatment.
They were back in the Music City on Thursday afternoon, along with parents and family, for a big surprise from the Nashville Predators.
The girls and their guests met Gnash and were given tickets to the upcoming Ed Sheeran concert on Sept. 13, as well as seats for the Preds and Stars matchup on Oct. 11. In addition, the girls received a slew of goodies from the Preds Kids Club. They then got a tour of Bridgestone Arena, including the Predators locker room.
“That was pretty cool,” Hank Inman said of the surprise. “It caught me and it was unexpected.”
“(The girls) came and saw the concert and then they had the accident, but now they get to come back and they’re getting to have fun again in Nashville,” Cindy Inman said. “They don’t just have the accident in their head, they can make these new memories.”
For the Predators, reaching out to the girls and giving them a chance to come to 501 Broadway was a no-brainer.
“Whenever we get a chance to use our concerts, the building and the Preds to make someone happy, it’s a pretty rewarding thing,” Predators President and COO Sean Henry said. “Especially when you know what these little girls have gone through and what the families have gone through; you look at all the care they’re going through, fighting though it, and you’d never know it with those smiles on. They’re so optimistic and so positive. It’s pretty humbling for us to be able to say, ‘Come on out, you can come to Nashville and have a great time during the show and then afterwards too.’ Ideally, they’ll walk away with some great memories.”
Leah Essary, whose niece is Shalanna, says that the girls have never been to a hockey game. In fact, the only thing they really know is that Carrie Underwood happens to be married to Predators forward Mike Fisher. That knowledge is likely to change come October.
“It’s a great, positive thing for (the girls) to get to come back to Nashville,” Essary said. “For the Predators to do this, I know I probably speak on behalf of all the families, they’re very grateful and appreciative of that. This is just more of a positive view of Nashville for them.”
The outpouring of support for the girls from throughout their home community, as well as the Nashville area, has been nonstop since the accident. The tickets took that support to a new level.
“I would like to say thank you,” Essary said. “We’re very appreciative, we’re very grateful, and we definitely thank the Predators for taking time out of their day to make these four little girls’ day.”
And it’s not only the girls who will benefit from the gesture. Hank is looking forward to seeing the Preds in person. He says it’s been years since he’s attended a hockey game, but echoed a sentiment that couldn’t be more accurate.
“We told (the girls), ‘You haven’t seen hockey until you’ve seen it in person.’”
Thanks to Smashville, they’ll get that chance.