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What Are You Doing to be Like Mister Rogers on 1-4-3 Day?

Pennsylvania names May 23 as 1-4-3 Day to celebrate its favorite neighbor.

photo by dave dicello


In the spirit of kindness and love spread by Fred Rogers, Gov. Tom Wolf designated a day in honor of the beloved neighbor’s favorite number, encouraging Pennsylvanians to be kinder on this newly-named “1-4-3 Day.”

The beloved children’s host of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” regularly used 1-4-3 as code for “I Love You.” It’s based on the number of letters in each word: one letter in “I,” four in “love” and three in “you.” It’s also the weight he tried to maintain throughout of his life, according to his widow, Joanne Rogers. 1-4-3 Day will be held on May 23, the 143rd day of the year.

In an effort to inspire kindness, the state’s website will include a “Kindness Generator” to offer ideas for the day, as well as a “Kindness Tracker” to keep note of the total of good deeds and gestures performed. There’s also a #143DayinPA hashtag to tally the results and promote the event through social media. “Just imagine the change we would see in the real world if all 12.8 million PA residents participated,” the website says.  

A good deed could be something as simple as holding open a door or offering your seat to someone on public transportation, says Carrie Lepore, deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Office of Marketing, Tourism and Film.

“1-4-3 Day in Pennsylvania is about spreading love and kindness in honor of Pittsburgh’s native son, Fred Rogers. This day is about good deeds and neighborly acts throughout our great commonwealth we are proud to call home,” Lepore says. “While we hope Fred Rogers and May 23, the 143rd of the year, inspires Pennsylvanians to share a little kindness, it should also serve as a reminder to be a good neighbor 365 days a year.”

Support and involvement for 1-4-3 Day is going beyond state agencies. For example, Lyft will offer Pittsburgh Cares volunteers a fixed rate of $1.43 for rides valued up to $10, while Eat’n Park is providing free parking for all visitors to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Also, Lamar Advertising will be running the Kindness Tracker stats on its digital billboards. The company’s sister markets in Erie, Lancaster, Allentown and York also will participate in the project.

“Our digital billboards can provide real time messaging, so once we found out they were counting the acts of kindness we thought it would be great to share up-to-minute numbers on our digital boards across the city,” says Michael Spezialetti, general sales manager for Lamar Advertising. “Lamar has offices across the state, so we reached out to our other markets and they were just as excited to help out.”

Even the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball mascots — the Phillie Phanatic and the Pirate Parrot, respectively — are getting along and sharing some kindness in the spirit of 1-4-3 Day, as seen in this video released by visitPA.

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