In 1968, several months after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated, Mister (Fred) Rogers quietly did something at that time that was quite unthinkable – he not only hired a black man to take on a regular role in his children’s television program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” – and asked him to play a police officer. He would also regularly invite Officer Clemmons to cool his feet in the same pool – together.
Years later, in 1993, Officer Clemmons would make his last appearance on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. In a touching moment, Mister Rogers once again invited Officer Clemmons, to join him at a pool in the front yard. Two friends, one white, one black, soaked their feet together and discussed the the importance of friendship and being kind to one another.
As they said their goodbyes, Officer Clemmons emotionally thanked Mister Rogers and said, “I like being a human being right here and now.” A great reminder that wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.
Chris Edwards Napa 2019