A simple act of kindness

Secret Santa to pay for tickets to ‘A?Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,’ opening Thursday

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” opens Thursday at the Webster Theater and local benefactor is offering a Christmas gift to area movie goers.

This Secret Santa is giving the gift of free tickets to the movie to all who wish to attend.

Webster Theater Manager Ann McLaughlin said she was “pleasantly surprised” when she was approached by a local resident. The donor told her they would like to pay for every admission during the run of the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” a film starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers, the host of a classic children’s program that aired 1968 through 2001.

“Anyone who comes to the movie, will get in free,” McLaughlin said. The movie will be shown Dec. 20 and 21 at 7 p.m., Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Dec. 24 at 2 p.m.; Dec. 25 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 26 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

And who is this Secret Santa? McLaughlin is keeping mum. The person wishes to remain anonymous.

“The idea is this person really thinks highly of Mr. Rogers – he was kind of a hero growing up. The person wanted to something special, to be a good neighbor,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said the donor asked what the largest turnout for a movie had been. The biggest selling movie at the theater brought in round 1,000 people.

“And the donor said, “We’ll gosh, let’s hope we can get more than that into A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and show what kind of good neighbors we can be,'” she said.

In keeping with that generosity, The Webster Theater is encouraging members of the community to donate nonperishable food items for the local food pantries. Patrons attending the movie can bring an item or two to add to the food drive, McLaughlin said.