"Special Neighbor" Surprised Mister Rogers On Stage
Fred Rogers, affectionately known as Mister Rogers by his viewers, met Jeff Erlanger in 1981. The two shared a special moment -- one that Jeff never forgot. Nearly 20 years later, Mister Rogers was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. And his "special neighbor" surprised Mister Rogers on stage to thank him for the difference he'd made in his life, as well as in the lives of all of his viewers!
Making A Difference
Jeff was a little boy when he appeared on Mister Rogers' popular children's TV show, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. He explained to the kids who were watching how he came to be in a wheelchair. And though Jeff was "different" from most kids his age, none of that mattered when Mister Rogers sang the song "It's You I Like" with him. Knowing that Mister Rogers truly liked him just the way God made him had power.
Mister Rogers didn't just have an influence on Jeff's life, but also on all of the other kids who watched his show, which spanned more than three decades. Mister Rogers taught kids more than just letters and numbers. He taught them how to be good neighbors.
What made Mister Rogers so special was his genuine sincerity. He did what he did because he loved children and truly wanted to better their lives. He said in his speech at the TV Hall of Fame ceremony:
“Fame is a four-letter word. And like tape, or zoom, or face, or pain, or life, or love -- what ultimately matters is what we do with it."
God gave Mister Rogers a kind heart, and special talent for inspiring children. And what he did with it changed lives, including Jeff's.
Watch Mister Rogers and Jeff's first meeting, as well as their touching reunion in the video below: