Lifestyle & Human Interest

Mrs. Rogers Surprised by Hospital with Babies Wearing Late Husband's Iconic Red Cardigan for World Kindness Day


As many people who frequent the internet were aware, Nov. 13 was a very special day — especially for those who grew up with “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Cardigan Day, which was commemorated on World Kindness Day, celebrates kindness, the show’s 65th anniversary and the legacy Fred Rogers left.

“November 13th is Kindness Day and WQED is asking YOU, in the spirit of Fred Rogers, to express your kindness by showing off your cardigan and sharing it with the world,” WQED, where the show’s studio was, posted on a Facebook event page.

People were encouraged to wear a cardigan sweater and share photos to spread the joy. Many people participated — but UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital had an especially heartwarming celebration planned for the day.

Caitlin Pechin, a nurse at the hospital, is an avid crafter, and crochet is her specialty. That meshed with Cardigan Day perfectly, as she was able to crochet a bunch of adorable red sweaters and blue-and-white “shoes” for newborns who happened to be at the hospital on Nov. 13.

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To top it all off, the hospital invited Mrs. Rogers to see the wee ones all decked out in their Mr. Rogers look-alike outfits.

“We welcomed Pittsburgh’s newest neighbors in style for #CardiganDay!” UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital posted. “Big thanks to Mrs. Rogers for stopping by!”

The photos show a smitten Mrs. Rogers, hands clasped, the picture of joy as she viewed the newborns.

“It was a BEAUTIFUL day in our Neighborhood as we welcomed Pittsburgh’s newest and tiniest neighbors at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital for World Kindness Day!” the Fred Rogers Productions page shared. “Thanks to our friends at WQED Pittsburgh and UPMC Magee for making Cardigan Day extra special.”

“It was just a really special thing to see the red sweater and the shoes and to know that they were both knitted by one of the nurses in the hospital,” Kristen Lewandowski, mom to one of the newborns, told Good Morning America.

Both Kristen and her husband Michael had grown up with the show, and seeing their new daughter repping the friendly neighborhood sage was heartwarming.

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“In fact, when I was little I watched ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ with my grandmother, my grandma Mary, who we named our [daughter] Mary after,” Michael said.

According to Kristen, Mrs. Rogers was an equally kind soul who wished them “the best of luck as new parents,” and encouraged them “to support one another.”

As for Pechin, these sweaters and booties are just one of her more recent projects. Her Etsy highlights her talents, and she’s used her crocheting to make other outfits for hospital patients in the past.

“It’s more just something I do for fun,” Pechin told GMA. “I really enjoy making things for all the babies because they look so cute in them.”

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