Today we were watching a well-known episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” in which Mr. Rogers talks to a quadriplegic little boy named Jeffrey Erlanger.
While we were watching it, my husband said he wondered what had happened to Jeffrey, which led me to a quick google search where I found this beautiful clip of Rogers with Erlanger nearly 20 years later.
Rogers was being inducted into the TV Hall of Fame and Erlanger came to surprise him. Watching how excited Mr. Rogers was to see Erlanger made me teary-eyed. And listening to Mr. Rogers speak is inspirational. I wish I had an ounce of the kindness that seems to ooze out of every word Mr. Rogers says.
Both of these clips came up when I googled “Handicapped boy on Mr. Rogers.” With the second clip, I learned Jeffrey Erlanger’s full name, which brought me to the sad discovery that Erlanger died 6 years ago. He was only 36 at the time, but had already taken on some leadership roles in his community, advocating for other handicapped people.
And that’s how Google gave me an emotional roller coaster today. You google some obscure guest star who was on “Mister Rogers” 30+ years ago and you almost end up crying.