BATAVIA – Tears streamed down Kayla Taylor's face after meeting "Dancing With The Stars" champion Maksim Chmerkovskiy on Friday during his appearance at Aliano's Ristorante in downtown Batavia.
"He touched my heart," said the 16-year-old Oswego resident, who is a dancer herself. "He kissed me on the cheek and he told me to save a dance for him."
Chmerkovskiy won this season's "Dancing With The Stars" with his dancing partner, Olympic ice dancer, Meryl Davis. Aliano's was hosting a trunk showing of Chmerkovskiy's new line of men's fine jewelry, which he designed himself.
Taylor and her mom, Debbie, waited in line for more than three hours for the chance to meet Chmerkovskiy. Even though he arrived at the restaurant a little later than scheduled after his limousine got stuck in traffic, Taylor was not deterred.
"I want to thank him for being an inspiration to me," she said, moments before meeting him. "He needs to know that he is an inspiration to others."
Debbie Taylor also has been a longtime fan of the show and of Chmerkovskiy. He first appeared in season two of "Dancing With The Stars" and won the championship in the show's 18th season.
"He finally won it, and I am so happy for him," she said.
Stephanie Seydone and her husband, Degauld, also stood in line for more than three hours for chance to meet Chmerkovskiy.
"We're big fans of the show," she said. "Our favorite season was this season. I really respect his talents. I think he is very passionate."
Chmerkovskiy expressed his gratitude to those who came out to see him.
"This has been an amazing trip," he said to the crowd of people lined up outside the restaurant. "I had no idea people would show up like this."
That included Christina Carrasco of Oswego and her mom, Arina.
"He was as nice as could be," Christina Carrasco said after meeting him. "He thanked us for waiting as long as we did."
Aliano's Ristorante owner Mario Aliano said he was glad the event helped to create a buzz and bring more people to downtown Batavia.
"It is a great draw for the community," Aliano said.
He also shares a bond with Chmerkovskiy, as he is a GIA certified gemologist and master goldsmith and owns Rossario's Fine Jewelry in Wood Dale.
"I'm just blessed to be able to do something like this," Aliano said.