There is an inspirational story on the Entertainment Weekly website about television legend Mr. Rogers. The author of the piece, Anthony Breznican, reminisces about a time in 2001 when he meet Mr. Rogers in an elevator in Pittsburgh. Breznican was a college student at the time, and he had grown up watching Mr. Rogers on television. Because Rogers’ children-oriented show had always been a comfort to Breznican when he was a little boy, he was thrilled to actually meet him in person.
He found out that Mr. Rogers in person was much like Mr. Rogers on television: kind, caring and thoughtful. When Rogers realized he had been recognized by one of his television “neighbors,” he gave Breznican a hug. Then, amazingly enough, he hung out with Breznican for a while and listened while Breznican told him about the sadness he felt about recently losing a loved one. Rogers then responded with a story about losing his own grandfather and how he eventually learned to get over and move on. On a less serious note, the two also talked about the music on the television show.
I find this story to be heartwarming because I learned that the whole kindly Mr. Rogers persona on television was genuine. When you think about it, while television gave Rogers the opportunity to reach countless people, he would have been the same positive influence to others without it just on a smaller scale. It shows me that you don’t have to be a celebrity to help others, and that we all have the potential to be like Mr. Rogers.