The week before her surgery, Mister Rogers himself called. He asked if he could speak to Beth about her upcoming procedure. During the conversation she admitted she was scared but wanted her seizures to stop. In a nearly hour-long conversation Beth told him things she could not say to her parents.
Following surgery her neurosurgeon explained it had gone well. However, later that evening her brain stem swelled, and Beth slipped into a deep coma. Soon afterwards her frightened parents received a phone call from Mister Rogers. He did more than listen, he also prayed with them. Beth’s family had not realized the well-known children’s entertainer was also a minister.
Every day for two weeks, Mister Rogers called to check on Beth and pray with her mother. One morning he asked if he could visit the following afternoon. Her mother explained she was still in a coma and would not know he was there. Never-the-less, Mister Rogers flew from Philadelphia to Baltimore to visit. He asked her mother not to tell anyone because he did not want the press to be there.
Several days later the child regained consciousness. Years later Beth described Mister Roger’s visit this way, “I’d love to end this story by telling you that right there and then I emerged from my coma but… what I can tell you though is that Mister Rogers became my real friend and… we remained close… for the following twenty years until his death on February 27, 2003.”
This story illustrates why Fred Rogers is so admired 20 years after his death. He may have been a well-known celebrity, but the man practiced his faith by serving others. Jesus challenges us to live the same way. “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.” (Matthew 20:26-27, NLT) Those who live the way Jesus challenges us to live are like Mister Rogers, they help others and make our world a more positive place.
(Column based on this article https://foreverymom.com/arts-entertainment/celebrities/mister-rogers-fan-coma-beth-usher/)