The Fred Rogers Company and fans have shared the ways in which Fred Rogers changed their lives.
Fred Rogers once said, "Try your best to make goodness attractive. That's one of the toughest assignments you'll ever be given." This became his life's mission and the legacy he has left behind. The famous TV personality whose name became widely known through his show, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," would have turned 95 on March 20.
In 2018, when the iconic show celebrated 50 years since being aired to a national TV audience for the first time, The Fred Rogers Company and fans shared how Rogers—who died in 2003—changed their lives for the better. This included assuring kids that their differences are OK and reminding viewers to "look for the helpers" in times of crisis, reports TODAY.
As with most instances involving Rogers, these are sure to make you smile and cry at the same time.
When the Fred Rogers Company asked for stories about ways Rogers touched fans' life, Facebook user Karen Betenbough shared how a segment on the show helped her daughter— then 2—overcome her fear of the bathtub. "Whenever she had a bath, when I took the tub plug out she would scream and fight to get away and run as far as she could to get away from the tub," wrote Betenbough. "One day Mister Rogers had on his swimsuit and got in a bathtub... he put water in the tub and talked to kids about how no one could go down the drain." Betenbough added from that day forward, her daughter was no longer afraid to take a bath.
The Fred Rogers Company, however, clarified that while Rogers was seen in a swimsuit in a few episodes of the show, he was never shown in a swimsuit in the bathtub, though he did talk about drains and bathtubs in a few episodes. Mister Rogers also wrote a song called "You Can Never Go Down the Drain," and he sang it a few times on the program.
In the same post by the Fred Rogers Company, Facebook user Wendy Roosevelt-D'angelo wrote how she was a lonely child who was often bullied, but Rogers was a special influence in her life. "When Mister Rogers said goodbye at the end of each episode, tears would stream down my face," wrote Roosevelt-D'angelo. "I felt as if he was the only person who liked me and accepted me just as I was. I never met him, but he is one of the most precious friends I have ever had."
"My friends and family love to tease me about my lifelong love of Mister Rogers, but what he taught both children and adults about kindness and acceptance were lessons needed now more than ever," she told TODAY.
Emmy Beltre learned to speak English as a child by watching "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" on his television. When he shifted from the Dominican Republic to the United States in the '90s, he said, he only spoke Spanish. "I didn't know a lick of English and we had just moved here," Beltre, a senior graphic designer for WFIU Public Radio, told NPR. "Probably one of the greatest things that happened by watching Mister Rogers is that I learned to speak English."
As a small child who went through brain surgery to treat his never-ending seizures, Beth Usher's mom contacted her son's hero for an autograph and encouraging words for her son. Usher discussed the experience on TODAY, "I told him that I was scared but wanted the seizures to go away. I told him that I wanted the kids in my class to like me and to play with me... we talked for nearly an hour. Before I hung up the phone, I said, 'I love you, Mister Rogers.' Mister Rogers became my real friend and not just a TV friend."
Model Chrissy Teigen also once tweeted one of her favorite stories. "Mister Rogers would narrate himself feeding the fish in each episode with 'I'm feeding the fish' because of a letter he received from a young blind girl who was worried the fish were hungry. Love you, Mister Rogers," read Teigen's tweet.
Francois Clemmons, who played Officer Clemmons on Rogers' show, had the first recurring role for an African American on children's TV. Clemmons told NPR, "He invited me to come over and rest my feet in the water with him. The icon Fred Rogers not only was showing my brown skin in the tub with his white skin, but as I was getting out of that tub, he was helping me dry my feet."
Rogers had a heart of gold. He always brought a smile to the face of others either with his performance or with his kindness, most times, with both.