In remembrance of Fred Rogers, who passed away 9 years ago today, here is a link to a simply wonderful piece on the man.
Once upon a time, Mister Rogers went to New York City and got caught in the rain. He didn’t have an umbrella, and he couldn’t find a taxi, either, so he ducked with a friend into the subway and got on one of the trains. It was late in the day, and the train was crowded with children who were going home from school. Though of all races, the schoolchildren were mostly black and Latino, and they didn’t even approach Mister Rogers and ask him for his autograph. They just sang. They sang, all at once, all together, the song he sings at the start of his program, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and turned the clattering train into a single soft, runaway choir.
Update (March 1st, 2013): As I went to re-read this piece, I discovered the archive of it was currently down. It can be found via the Wayback Machine, or purchased in this Esquire collection. It’s well worth your $4.
Update (December 22nd, 2014): You can tell I’m devoted to this piece because I keep updating this post. Junod’s full piece is currently available on Esquire. I’ve updated the links to point there.