“It’s you I like – every part of you. Your skin, your eyes, your feelings – whether old or new. I hope that you’ll remember – even when you’re feeling blue – that it’s you I like. It’s you yourself – it’s you, it’s you I like.” – Mister Rogers
For all of us that grew up as a child with the best neighbor in the world, Mister Rogers, the song “It’s You I Like” is only second to “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” Mister Rogers was super unique in making every kid feel special, revered, and loved.
In late 1981, Mister Rogers brought on a special guest to his show – a quadriplegic Jeffrey Erlanger. Jeffrey informed viewers about his wheelchair and talked a bit about his disabilities, which were the result of a surgery he had to remove a tumor from his spinal cord.
Mister Rogers made Jeffrey feel welcomed and loved, and Jeffrey’s feature on the show made a big impact to kids with similar conditions. Jeffrey’s appearance was even more special, because he got to sing “It’s You I Like” with Mister Rogers.
The story could have ended there – because pretty much everything about Mister Rogers’ legacy is inspiring and heartwarming. But it doesn’t.
In 1999, Mister (Fred) Rogers was finally inducted into the TV Hall of Fame. During the award show, Rogers sat patiently as guests talked to him and set the stage for his big speech. Eventually, the final guest came on stage to actually introduce Rogers … and he was shocked.
On stage, was Jeffrey. Rogers didn’t even let his amazing friend get to the microphone before he ran past the stairs to jump on stage and give him a huge hug. Despite all the decades since filming the episode, Rogers still recognized him. In fact, Hadda Sharapan, one of Rogers’ former colleagues, told the Post-Gazette that “anytime Fred was asked, what was a moment that stands out” over the course of his career, his episode with Jeffrey was always “the one he pointed to.”
The audience started crying as the two buddies reunited. Rogers seemed totally blind to them, though, because he was so focused on Jeffrey who was telling the TV star just how much he means to him and how his show impacted his life.
Jeffrey ended his tribute by telling Mister Rogers, “it’s you I like.”