The Pittsburgh story behind the Mr. Rogers 'helpers' photo
December 17, 2012 7:15 PM
The image of Mister Rogers that went viral after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., was taken at the Children's Institute in Pittsburgh.
By Maura Judkis The Washington Post
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world." -- Mister Rogers
As America reeled from the news of the shootings at Sandy Hook, parents looked for a way to explain the unexplainable to their children. But they also needed an explanation for themselves -- someone to help process the magnitude of what it means to live in a world where 20 children can be gunned down amid storybooks and crayons.
That person was -- and will always be -- Mister Rogers. After 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting shared the children's television host's quote about helpers, along with an image of a tiny boy cradling Mister Rogers' face in his hands, each looking lovingly into each other's eyes, it began to go viral on Facebook. As of this writing, it has been "liked" more than 48,000 times, and shared more than 88,000 times. It has more than 1,500 comments, many of which echo this sentiment, expressed by Dianne Quigley: "WE can be the helpers...by creating a fabric of love, generosity, understanding and compassion. Smile and help someone today."