Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.

Saved! Access Favorites in your account profile. Removed from my favorites

7 Beautiful Moments When Mr. Rogers Changed The World

  1. Begin
    opener-9
    Photo: Fotos International/Getty Images.

    SHARE IT

    comments
    See All Slides
    March 20 would have been Mr. Rogers' 88th birthday. Our neighbor passed away in 2003, but that hardly means he's forgotten.

    In a 1999 interview for the Archive of American Television, Fred Rogers talked about how he wanted to be remembered after he passed. "I'd just like to be remembered for being a compassionate human being," he said with a little shrug, "who happened to be fortunate enough to be born at a time when there was this fabulous thing called television that could allow me to use all the talents that I'd been given."

    But really, we were the fortunate ones. Mr. Rogers used his kindness, compassion, and patience to make the world a little bit of a happier and more welcoming place. On what would have been his birthday, we're remembering seven ways that his simple acts of caring really did change the world.

    Begin Slideshow
  2. <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/pXiGzwhmCug" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    Via jhay1's channel on YouTube.

    SHARE IT

    0 Comments
    See All Slides
    0 of 7

    When he made a point to always announce that he was feeding his fish.

    In his book Dear Mr. Rogers, Does It Ever Rain in Your Neighborhood?: Letters to Mr. Rogers, he shared a letter from a little girl named Katie, who worried about his fish. She was blind and couldn't see when he fed them, so she asked him to say out loud when he was feeding them, so she would know.

    "Since hearing from Katie, I've tried to remember to mention out loud those times that I'm feeding the fish. Over the years, I've learned so much from children and their families. I like to think we've all grown together," he wrote.

  3. Photo: Getty Images.

    SHARE IT

    comments
    See All Slides
    1 of 7
  4. <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/yXEuEUQIP3Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    Via jhay1's channel on YouTube.

    SHARE IT

    0 Comments
    See All Slides
    2 of 7

    When he told the U.S. Senate why it was so important to remind kids there was someone who cared.

    In 1969, the government was threatening to cut funding to PBS. Mr. Rogers testified before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications to defend the network. In front of the gruff Senator John Pastore (D-RI), he talked about what he did for children. "I give an expression of care every day to each child," he said. He shared a song with the committee about learning to be mad. "What do you do with the mad that you feel?" he began.

    When he was done, the Pastore paused for a moment. "I think it's wonderful," he said. "Looks like you just earned the 20 million dollars."

  5. <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Upm9LnuCBUM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    Via jhay1's channel on YouTube.

    SHARE IT

    0 Comments
    See All Slides
    3 of 7

    When he used his Emmys speech to pay tribute to the people who have helped him (and others) along.

    In 1997, Mr. Rogers won a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. But instead of taking the moment to bask in his achievement, he turned it back around and offered those watching a way to share it with him.

    "Would you just take, along with me, 10 seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are," he asked. He looked at his watch and said, "I'll watch the time."

  6. <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/PI_9GegVoYk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    Via jhay1's channel on YouTube.

    SHARE IT

    0 Comments
    See All Slides
    4 of 7

    When he used his induction into the TV Hall of Fame to talk about how important it was to show goodness — and did it himself.

    When he was inducted into the TV Hall of Fame, his introduction was given by Jeff Erlanger, a quadriplegic man who had been on his show as a child. When he came onto the stage, Mr. Rogers' face visibly lit up. He didn't even use the stairs, but climbed up on the stage to greet his friend.

    "What a surprise," he said, visibly near tears. "Will you support me as I say my few words?"







    Correction: A previous version of this story referred to Mr. Erlanger as paraplegic rather than quadriplegic. Refinery29 regrets the error.