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. delonerm

    Great feel good story. Keep it up Batman!

    April 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Guest

    Obama's fault.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest2

      Bush's fault.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Shuffler

    There are folks in this world who restore your faith in mankind. This story is about one of them.

    Thanks Batman!!

    April 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sherri

      Thank you for your comment, it is nice to see there is others out there who feel what he is doing is great! I think more people should stand up and pay attention to anyone who gives time to children or anyone else that needs to be happy. 🙂

      April 5, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Pablo

    This guy is exemplary. Good going Batman!

    April 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dike

    I only dream of doing such things... A real hero does it.... Thank you Robinson, for being my hero.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Towards Yesterday

    Lenny... you are everything we could ever possibly wish for in a superhero. Keep up the good work..

    April 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Guest

    He wears a batman costume and visits hospitals

    April 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sherri

    This is one of those stories that bring tears to your eyes, because you know this man does this from his heart. God puts people here for a reason, and I believe God has given this man a purpose to be a true hero to these children who are fighting not for crime but for thier lives as he said. God be with you Batman (Lenny). I wish the world had many more people like you in it.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality Bites

      God has nothing to do with this story. Robinson may not even belive in "god" .........whatever that is anyway.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality Bites

      'believe" also was it not God that gave these children cancer?

      April 5, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • URClueless

      God did nothing here. You disgust me. Here is a story about a great man doing great things because he feels it in his heart....and you try and give credit to someone else?

      Good job Lenny....YOU have done wonderful things, YOU have performed miracles with these children. Thank you sir.

      April 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BBoy

    In Florida Zimmerman would have shot Batman.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Manchester United

      Give it a rest already. This is a story about something good and then u have to come along and TROLL it up.

      April 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • sanjay02

      LOL

      April 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Robin

    Camera hog...where is my 5minutes..jk...Great story!

    April 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    So when he's asked if he's got insurance, he shows the cop his batarang. whoOOSH!!! BooM!!!

    April 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BOMBO ©

    The only thing that disappoints me about this story is – no picture of "Wonder Woman". C'mon CNN.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sorry to spoil the fun but

    Why is someone who has previously been in trouble for assault being allowed such close access to children?

    April 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Why are you an idiot

      April 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Did I miss the part where the victim was a child or something?

      April 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      uh, you don't know the specifics of the issues, whether there were charges or anything. And truly, there are plenty of people that have been in bad situations and do grow out of getting in trouble. Seriously, do you think everyone has a sparkling clean record? You are a killjoy. If you're that interested in his past foibles, do some research, get real verifiable information and report it on a blog so everyone can debate it fairly, but to be honest, it's beside the point. Go back to rubbing the corns on your mom's feet.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • PF

      Don't see how those two are related. Stop being so judgmental.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TMoney

    A 1 percenter with a big warm heart? Yep! We need to stop demonizing ALL people with this kind of wealth. what an inspiring story!

    April 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Unggit

    I wander if he actually has a vanity [license] plate?

    April 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
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