HOLY REVELATION! BATMAN IS real, but he’s no crime-fighter – he’s something even better!
His real identity is Lenny B. Robinson, a wealthy Baltimore businessman by day, and by night (and other times) a Caped Crusader who visits hospitals to brighten up the lives of kids suffering from cancer and other diseases.
“The real superheroes are the children in the hospital,” said Robinson, 48. “They are fighting every day for their lives.”
Robinson got interested in Batman when his teenage son Brandon was a young child and the Dark Knight was the boy’s favorite comic book hero. About 12 years ago, Robinson got the idea to visit sick kids dressed as Batman.
Since he had money to spare from a commercial cleaning company he owned, Robinson went all out to look the part.
He bought a pricey Lamborghini and decked it out with the Batman insignia. Then he spent $5,000 for a leather and neoprene outfit made by a professional costume maker.
He also forks out about $25,000 a year on Batman toys, books, T-shirts, backpacks and other memorabilia to give to the kids.
“Eventually it sinks in and you become him,” said Robinson of the Gotham City vigilante. “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.”
Robinson knows that that sounds corny, but he couldn’t care less.
When he started visiting sick children, his reputation spread by word of mouth and soon other hospitals were sending up the bat signal for Robinson to visit their children.
As a side duty, he gives lectures to students about the evils of bullying.
On a recent visit to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Robinson, as Batman, walked up to the front desk lugging two bags of Batman books, rubber Batman symbol bracelets and various other toys.
The check-in attendant asked him his name and Robinson replied: “Batman.”
Then it was off to the children’s cancer ward, where Robinson stopped to pick up a sick child, who smiled as he was given a Batman bracelet and told it would bring him luck.
“We need good luck,” the boy’s father said.
A child named Claire, who suffers from leukemia, was the next to get a gift and a hug from the Caped Crusader. Her mom said Batman’s visit made things just a little easier for her daughter.
Robinson went from one sick child to the next, offering them words of encouragement, a gift and a hug. Many stood wide-eyed at meeting the superhero.
“These visits provide an immediate boost for these kids,” said Jeffrey Dome, the oncology division chief at Children’s.
For Batman, his best reward is simple. It’s when a parent tells him: “This is the first time my son or daughter has smiled in months.”