TENDER MERCIES: The Better Angels Of Batman

PREVIOUSLY: Montgomery County Police have released dash cam video of a Batman impersonator being pulled over in Silver Spring last week. It didn’t take long for the jokes to start, especially when the dispatcher asked if the officer needed backup. “You can send me Robin if you wish,” said the officer. Lenny Robinson was driving his Lamborghini “Batmobile” but was pulled over for not displaying his license plate. Robinson may not be a real superhero, but he is using his powers for good. He dresses up in the batsuit to visit children in local hospitals. When Robinson showed officers the plate in his car, police let him go, after taking some pictures with him. MORE

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is written by our friend Mike Rosenwald of the Washington Post. We urge you to click through and read the whole piece, it just might restore your faith in humanity, if only for a few moments. Be warned, you WILL shed a tear by the end.

WASHINGTON POST: The [hospital] check-in attendant asked for identification. Batman said it was in his Batmobile. The check-in attendant, just doing her job, asked for his real name. “Lenny,” he announced. “B, as in Batman. Robinson.” When Batman finally reached the elevator for the slow ride up to the cancer ward, I could see his face already sweating behind the mask. He told me he loses 5 to 6 pounds in water weight when he wears the superhero uniform. He paid $5,000 for it. He spends $25,000 a year of his own money on Batman toys and memorabilia. He signs every book, hat, T-shirt and backpack he hands out — Batman.

Batman is 48. He is a self-made success and has the bank account to prove it. He recently sold, for a pile of cash, a commercial cleaning business that he started as a teenager. He became interested in Batman through his son Brandon, who was obsessed with the caped crusader when he was little. “I used to call him Batman,” he told me. “His obsession became my obsession.” Batman began visiting Baltimore area hospitals in 2001, sometimes with his now teenage son Brandon playing Robin. Once other hospitals and charities heard about his car and his cape, Batman was put on superhero speed dial for children’s causes around the region. He visits sick kids at least couple times a month, sometimes more often. He visits schools, too, to talk about bullying. He does not do birthday parties.

His superhero work is limited to doing good deeds, part of a maturation process in his own life. In his earlier years, he acknowledges that he sometimes displayed an unsuperhero-like temper and got into occasional trouble with the law for fights and other confrontations. Putting on the Batman uniform changes and steadies him. “Eventually, it sinks in and you become him,” Batman told me. “It feels like I have a responsibility that’s beyond a normal person. And that responsibility is to be there for the kids, to be strong for them, and to make them smile as much as I can.” He understands that might sound corny, but he doesn’t care.   MORE

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