April 5th, 2012
01:34 PM ET

Holy traffic stop! Violation highlights Beltway Batman’s good deeds

Baltimore (CNN) - Lenny Robinson is still getting acclimated to his 15 minutes of fame. When he pulled up to Baltimore's Sinai Hospital in a black Lamborghini decked out head to toe in a custom Batman outfit, he was greeted by a crush of reporters, news photographers and giddy hospital staff armed with smartphones snapping pictures.

Robinson became a viral video sensation last month when police pulled him over in full costume.  The dashboard camera in the Montgomery County, Maryland, police cruiser caught the entire scene, including the officer calling for back up. “You can send me Robin if you wish,” the officer snickered to dispatch before asking the driver, “What’s your name other than Batman?”

“Lenny,” Robinson replied from the driver’s seat in a cape and Batman headdress.

The police pulled over Robinson’s car because instead of a Maryland license plate, he had the Batman logo. He likes his outfit and car to look just right when he visits hospitals across Washington and Maryland to cheer up terminally ill children. Once police heard that and saw that the official license plate was inside the car, Robinson was on his way both to the hospital and Internet stardom. Last week a local paper unmasked the caped crusader with a front-page article detailing the charitable work done by the 48-year-old father of three.

Parked outside Sinai in a valet lot where expectant mothers come at delivery time, the Robinson Batmobile gleams. The black Lamborghini is customized with yellow trim and tricked out with the Batman logo nearly everywhere, including on the floor mats, the door jams and the monster rims. A collection of "Batman" themes blasts out from the stereo. Robinson grins from ear to pointy ear, fielding interviews and breaking away to pick up a sick child, say hello and cheer them up.

Upstairs, Hope for Henry is having its annual superhero celebration.

“We’re delighted to work with him and bring the magic of Batman to these kids,” says Laurie Strongin, executive director of Hope for Henry. Her group has brought pizza, cupcakes, superhero capes and games to help young cancer patients with their treatment by making them forget, for one afternoon, that they’re stuck in the hospital.

Strongin knows firsthand what the families here are going through. “My husband and I started Hope for Henry back in 2003 to honor the life of our son Henry, who had died when he was 7 years old after a bone marrow transplant,” she says.

Henry was a Batman fanatic. He never got to meet Robinson, but Strongin says Henry would have loved the day.

When Batman walks into the room, all the heads in the room turn. Sick children have a glimmer in their eye. Robinson flashes a smile and grumbles, “I’m Batman.”

And for the next two hours he is as close to the real thing as possible.

“I know the suit weighs almost 40 pounds and I lose approximately between 5 and 6 pounds of water weight each time I do it,” he says after autographing a boy’s forearm just above the tiny hospital bracelet.

“The car was a quarter-million dollars and the suit was 5 grand, and I give away approximately $25,000 worth of Batman sunglasses and T-shirts and hats (and) coloring books, and everything I give away I always sign. But it wasn’t about the money. It wasn’t about spending the money on the car or the suit. It was about coming to see the kids,” Robinson says.

While the party also features a man dressed as Spider-Man and a woman dressed as Wonder Woman, Batman is the star. He’s giving out books and toys, and if you’re under the age of 14, you’re starting wonder whether this actually may be the real Batman.

“Some of these kids recognize that this is not Batman, but in their head it is, and this is a great thing for them,” says Dr. Joseph M. Wiley, the hospital’s pediatrics chairman.

The party is medically important for the patients, Wiley says. “It is absolutely clear to those of us in the field that attitude and play therapy and distraction help children overcome illnesses, so this is a big deal for all the kids who are here today.”

Robinson says, “It’s rewarding in a whole different way, just making that child smile. And if I only just touch one kid out of all this, then I know I’ve done something really successful.”

Robinson volunteers much of his time these days as Batman at events such as this one. In 2007, he sold the industrial cleaning business that he began in high school. He told The Washington Post that his volunteering is part of his own maturation process, nodding to a few brushes with the law in his younger years thanks to, according to the Post, “fights and other confrontations.”

He says his cleaning business - which cleaned office buildings, churches and synagogues - was fulfilling, but being Batman and cheering up sick children is his calling.

“You see what’s going on. It has to be moving. Sometimes you’re crying on the inside but you’re strong on the outside. These are the real superheroes. It’s not me, it’s not you. They’re fighting for their lives every single day,” he says.

Robinson says he hopes to take his act on the road and around the world. Turns out that getting pulled over by police was one of the best things ever to happen to Batman.

Before we leave, he stops and looks right into CNN’s camera. He says he has been working on his closing line.

“Remember, at the end of the day, ask yourself, ‘Self, did I make a difference?’ And the answer had better be yes.”

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Filed under: Maryland
soundoff (232 Responses)
  1. ipayattention

    this.....is called winning.....and you sir are owning it =)

    April 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gremlinus

    So terrific. Thank you Batman!

    April 5, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Phillylama

    He truly is a superhero. A man to emulate. Successful in life and now giving back in a wonderful and memorable way. Super Kudos to you, Lenny!

    April 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CC

    He's great-about the only thing I can think of that would make him greater would be helping the other superheros who can't afford, financially, to do everything they'd like to do.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    What a wonderful thing to do.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rae Ann Pointer

    Hey Batman, that's not your job, that's the government's job. Only the government can help people.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Possum

      ...but super villains took over the government and broke it. So, Batman has come to the rescue – and he's doing a far better job than the government ever could.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Duane

    They ran this story last week.....he is amazing and I for one am glad there are wonderful people like this. Great job!

    April 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alex

    I remember when I first saw the picture and video of this guy, I thought "What a jerk". But every time I read the facts behind this story I get a little bit choked up. Thank you, sir, for giving us a welcome break from the stories about shootings, genocide, political corruption, and other travesties... and reminding us there are some genuinely good human beings left in the world. We'd be in a sorry place without you.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Just saying...

    this made me tear up a little. with everything wrong with the world, this guy is awesome. keep it up batman.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bignevermo

    this has me cryng...yeah i am a bleeding heart liberal!! GO BATMAN!!

    April 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Veronica

    What a welcome change in the news. I'm a bigger fan of Lenny as "Batman" than the original Batman himself. The world needs more people like Lenny! Kudos to u Mr. Robinson, keep up the good work.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Facebook Alternative

    Thanks for this. I got the shivers!

    April 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DurtyZ

    This guy is making a difference in someone's life... More people should strive to do the same, because at the end of the day, when you're dead and gone, the only memory of you is the legacy you leave behind.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. A fan

    What a tremendous story. Thank you Lenny for doing this! Wow! This truly touches ones heart

    April 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sofa King

    But...he's not really Batman.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Yeah? Sofa king what?
      He's helping make a difference.

      (Oh, I've waited for this!) 🙂

      April 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sydaixel

      Haha

      April 5, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • erik

      .....in a way he is.

      April 6, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
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