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Pittsburgh Hospital Dresses Up 6 Newborn Babies As Mr. Rogers For World Kindness Day

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Despite the cold weather, it was a beautiful day in a Pittsburgh neighborhood earlier this week on World Kindness Day.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

That's where dozens of staff members at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital gathered around to sing as Joanne Rogers, Mr. Rogers' widow, walked into the lobby beaming.

(SOUNDBITE OF BABY CRYING)

CORNISH: In a small, quieter room, Mrs. Rogers was then introduced to six newborn babies, all of them in a special outfit.

SHAPIRO: Red cardigans, black ties, khaki pants and booties crocheted to look like tennis shoes.

JOANNE ROGERS: I can't stand it. Oh. Oh, little blessings.

CORNISH: In other words, those six newborn babies were dressed up as her late husband and Pittsburgh native Fred Rogers, better known to generations of preschoolers as Mr. Rogers.

J ROGERS: (Laughter) Aren't they wonderful? Hey, sweetheart.

CAITLIN PECHIN: It was just so sweet. And the first thing she did when I walked in was gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. And she's just one of the nicest ladies I've ever met.

SHAPIRO: That's nurse Caitlin Pechin. She crocheted the sweaters and booties.

CORNISH: Patty Genday is the chief nursing officer at Magee-Womens Hospital. She helped organize the event. She thinks Mr. Rogers would have been proud to see what happened. Genday says the resurgence of love for Mr. Rogers is a reminder to us of the good and kind people in the world.

PATTY GENDAY: Every day when we turn on the news, we may hear about another tragedy or something catastrophic that happened. And I think it's wonderful that there is this focus on this man that impacted so many lives as we were growing up and had such a positive influence of how we need to treat each other.

SHAPIRO: Or as Mr. Rogers said...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD")

FRED ROGERS: Well, it's very important to look inside yourself and find that loving part of you because that's the part of you that allows you to love your neighbor. And your neighbor is anyone you happen to be with at any time of your life.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR")

F ROGERS: (Singing) It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine? It's a neighborly day in this beautywood (ph), a neighborly day for a beauty. Would you be mine? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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