IT’S A NEIGHBORLY DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
After Manchester, This Amazing ‘Mister Rogers’ Story May Be More Important Than Ever
One man shares his story of a chance encounter with his childhood icon—and the incredible lesson he took away.
Monday night, a horrible explosion went off at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, taking the lives of 22, including children, and injuring at least 60.
Shortly after news of the terror attack reached the States, a famous quote from beloved childhood icon Mr. Rogers began circling the Internet.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers once said, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
These words caught the eye of Entertainment Weekly staff writer Anthony Breznican.
Inspired, Breznican shared his own memory to Twitter of meeting the man himself.
He tweeted: “50 years [since Mister Rogers Neighborhood premiered]… I have a story to tell about this man.”
And he sure did.
“Fred Rogers was from Pittsburgh, my hometown, and my generation grew up loving this man, who taught us to be kind above all,” Breznican continued in a series of tweets. “Fred Rogers was the real thing. That gentle soul? It was no act.”
Breznican talks about his troubled time in college and describes how reconnecting with old episodes of Mister Rogers “felt like a cool hand on a hot head.” Soon after, as fate would have it, he ran into Rogers in an elevator.
He seized the opportunity to speak to his icon: “Mr. Rogers… I don’t mean to bother you. But I wanted to say thanks.”
Rogers smiled and asked the question any fan would dream of hearing: “Did you grow up as one of my neighbors?”
Breznican began crying. Rogers then embraced him and said, “It’s good to see you again, neighbor.”
And if you thought this story couldn’t get any more heartwarming...
Breznican felt moved to tell Rogers how he had rediscovered his show after the death of his grandfather. Rogers listened and told him, “You'll never stop missing the people you love.”
At the end of their conversation, Breznican apologized, worried he’d made his icon late, to which Rogers responded, “Sometimes you’re right where you need to be.”
Here’s the entire moving story below.