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May 23 is '143 Day' – Be Kind to Someone!


The late, great children’s television host and native of Latrobe, Fred Rogers, weighed 143 pounds throughout most of his adult life. “143” is also representative of the brand of goodness he wanted to bring to the world. “143” is short for “I love you.”

There’s one letter in “I,” four in “love,” and three in “you.” It was a code Rogers liked to mention on his program for children, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran from 1968-2001 on PBS stations throughout the country.

In remembrance and in honor to Mister Rogers, Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf declared May 23, the 143rd day of the year, as “143 Day in Pennsylvania.” The proclamation was coupled with a statewide campaign challenging Pennsylvanians to do one kind thing for a neighbor, whether it’s buying a cup of coffee for a stranger in line at the store or writing a thank-you note to the mail carrier.

Mr. Rogers, a music major and an ordained Presbyterian preacher, used his ministry to teach goodness and kindness to the children of the world over the television airwaves. Fred Rogers once said, “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first is to be kind, the second is to be kind and the third is to be kind.”

So, on this day, and every day if at all possible, let’s try to be kind, sincere and spread the good word. I was very fortunate to have been able to work on the set of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood while I was attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in the early 1990s, and became good friends with Mr. Rogers. One of my all-time favorite quotes of his – and there are a ton of inspirational words of wisdom from everyone’s favorite neighbor – went something like this: “It’s not so much what we have in life that matters. It’s what we do with what we have. The alphabet is fine, but it’s what we do with it that matters most. Making words like ‘friend’ and ‘love’, that’s what really matters.”


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