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. wahoo!

    POW! score one for the DC universe cant think of one Marvel character with cool enough ride and costume to be let go by the cops and still do charitable work in area hospitals!

    April 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • djrickyv

      @wahoo! What? You don't think a bald guy in a wheelchair calling himself Professor X would be exciting to the kids? lol

      April 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seraphim0

      Maybe Captain America on his motorcycle.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mei

      That is so true Wahoo.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmesIA

      Good thing he wasn't holding a bag of Skittles with THAT hoodie on.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John B

    How long is this story going to be news? It's one or two weeks old already. Nothing better than a billionaire that gives out batman merchandise? I would think the lady at the homeless shelter giving out food would take priority but then again this story quenches the thirst of the freaks out there that find this important. He should be handing out $100 dollar bills not batman sunglasses. Values people values. – make more smiles

    April 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aven

      You're belittling a man that spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sick kids smile? Really? I think the kids have more fun with a visit from Batman than dollar bills. Go relive your childhood and try to remember what was important to you back then.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lburk

      Everyday for the next century or two would do. This is a great story about someone who cares. I've read it three times now and it makes me smile. Lenny's a great guy. I wish there were more around like that. I know I try to be, but cant measure up to what he does!

      April 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seriously

      You're a dick, dude.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lburk

      Everyday for the next century or two would do. This is a great story about someone who cares. I've read it three times now and it makes me smile. Lenny's a great guy. I wish there were more around like that. I know I try to be, but cant measure up to what he does! And I doubt he's a billionaire by owning a cleaning company. Lighten up Francis!

      April 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      I would think that the sick children who find his visits important would take exception to being labeled a 'freak' by you.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      He has found something that has made him happy and that people enjoy. That you choose to try to shame this man for bringing happiness to children confuses me. Perhaps you should consider your comments more thoughtfully so that they reflect your true values more closely. If they already do, that makes me somewhat sad and I hope that you one day find happiness in the altruism of others regardless of if it matches your perfect vision.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nayrb

      ... but money doesn't buy happiness. Right?

      April 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      It's his money. Are you serious?

      April 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality

      If you're one of a few people cranky about a story there's a strong chances that the issue is you and not the story.

      -Reality

      April 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • luckyponytoo

      The point is to make the kids happier. What is a kid in a hospital going to do with a $100 bill? Start a retirement fund? BORING!! Batman sunglasses signed by Batman are WAY cooler. It's the happiness that brings the healing, not the money.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      When I was a kid, I would have loved a $100 bill more than batman. But I've outgrown that.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe schmoe

      you dont get the point do you? dont criticize before understanding the facts... its not all about money bro!

      April 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • AWARD

      Congratulations John B! Based on the number of contrary replies to your posted comment, you are deemed to have hit CNN's Raw Nerve of the Day! We are sending a terminally ill child to your home with a certificate and a 100 dollar bill.

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

      And what are you doing to help sick kids.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Hamsta – as a pediatrician, I can honestly tell you that most 4 year old inpatients would rather see (what they may or may not think is the real) Batman than have a $100 bill.

      And no – most 4 year olds do NOT understand that $100 can buy you Batman toys, movies, etc.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy Garner

      Some of you people would fuss about anything. What is the matter with you? Unless you donate this amount of time and money to charity you should keep your piehole shut. Unbelievable.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Whats a kid in the hospital going to do with $100?

      April 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. michaeldw

    Very generous, very nice. +1 to "Batman"

    April 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Superman

    Superman says good deed cape crusader!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. MVENT

    My wife has seen him in person at the Center for Limb Deformities at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. She loves him as much as the kids and staff. What an amazing guy! Keep on going Batman!

    April 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kermit's Wife

      kermit the frog is my hero...why don't go out like the other heroes and do charitable woirk like everybody else...the garbage needs to go out...PLEE-EASE WALK THE DOG, PICK UP THE KIDS FROM TADPOLE DAYCARE! FIX THE LOCK AND IM TAKING A FIFTY OUTTA YAH WALLET...SEE YAH LATER HONIE...LADIES NITE!

      April 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • AWARD

      And Kermit's Wife, we have no idea what you are saying or why you chose to specifically reply to MVENT to say it. You are deemed to have made the most confusing comment of the day. We are sending you a weird yellow object.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ♚Mmmmm♛

      yty...i take mine wrapped in grits...lol

      April 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Friendly Freddy

    There's a place in heaven for this selfless man. If I had that kind of money, the only thing I'd be doing is spreading my saliva all around the Carribean Islands. This man is a Saint, indeed.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. the Vision

    Its nice to see a positive post with positive comments for a change. A true super hero.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Ken

    Great story!

    April 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Debbie

    Great true story. Thank you for brightening the lives of the children, even if only for a few hours. You are indeed a rare man for choosing to give up your profession in order see children smile.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. youreatard

    Thanks, Batman.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. luckyponytoo

    Totally awesome. Superheroes may only exist in comic books and movies, but Lenny Robinson is about as close to the real thing as you can get. At the very least, he is making the lives of sick kids happier for a few hours. He may very well be aiding in their healing and literally saving lives in the process.

    Not everyone has the resources to pull off something this grand, but we should all remember the healing power of joy. Costume or no, every one of us can share happiness with others and make each other and ourselves healthier in every way.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Mr Practical No Fun

    The money he spent on this venture could have purchased many pallets full of rice or flour, which could have fed many, many sick and poor children. Burlap sacks could have been bought and re-sewn into cheap tunics for them to wear, and straw could have been bought and spread over the floors for them to sleep on. Lower the lights to save money and calm them down, do not give them any excitement which could drain their energy and shorten their lives.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • v3rlon

      And the time you spent typing that post could have been spent volunteering in a soup kitchen. It is easy to tell other people they aren't doing enough and how much more THEY could sacrifice forthe greater good. He is doing something to help with his resources. He still gets to have a life of his own. I see nothign in the article that indicates Mr. Robinson was looking for trouble. He had the license plates in the car. He answered honestly when the officer asked him his name (and he didn't change it to Bruce Wayne). It was just a costume that got a little attention from law enforcement. It happens. At least it was for a good cause.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. Sherri

    @ Reality Bites

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

    Well he believes in something and I dont think the Devil is going to give a rat's behind about children with Cancer, so yes I do believe he believes in God and I am guessing from your uncaring remark you dont, so you know what, get a life! Better yet, Maybe you shoud find a superhero.... God is mine! Because he saved me! , sorry if you dont feel that way! I stand up for what I belive in and I am not sorry for that. God bless Lenny for his time and love for others... He is a real hero with a heart!

    April 5, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. forgetthis

    I absolutely love this story. I wish CNN would post more stories like this one.

    April 5, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Someone

    Folks –

    Think about this – Tebow gets tons of praise for having a kid on the sideline. How is this different?

    The guy is a sucess, probably built his own business or inherited it – doesn't matter – and what makes him happy is to go out and make sick kids happy. If he brightens one sick kids day – then what the heck – it's his money. Yes, he is indulging a fantasy to a large degree – but so what?

    April 5, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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