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. enkephalin07

    I'd want to pull him over just to get a closer look at the car. Very cool guy.

    April 6, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. Beezo

    Batman Robinson, you are very, very cool.

    April 6, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sakura2000

    Go Batman!

    April 6, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. English101

    Why cant we all do more things like this?! I need to re-evaluate my decision making paradigm.

    April 6, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. erik

    Here comes the Hollywood lawsuits for copyright infringements!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Donate to his legal fund now!!!

    April 6, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • markishere

      Sadly I thought the same thing, but I don't think they can get him because of 1) public domain, and 2) he's not making a profit

      April 6, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Erik – Ok, glass half empty guy

      April 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      I had the exact same thought. Hope the copyright owners see the good this guy is doing, and the publicity its generating, and endorse him completely. Maybe throw him some dollars, T-shirts, trinkets etc. Make your corporate self look good

      April 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • mgc6288

      Wouldn't it only be infringement though if he were making money off the deal?

      April 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. paladin knight

    You have to love this guy and his story!! Wish we could have more people like him in today's society!!

    April 6, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. Thor

    ....from the Halls of Justice.

    April 6, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      From the Halls of Greatness.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. B. Russell

    This is awesome! If most of us would take the time to stop thinking of ourselves and give just a little to others I think that a little more happiness would fill this sad and hurting world. We can't change everything, however, one person at a time we could all make a difference. God bless you Batman, you are the true meaning of a everyday hero!!

    April 6, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bmore

    He came to my son's school one evening for some event. The car looked amazing and his outfit looked better than any movie. He spent time reading to the children and then showered them with goodies. Awesome guy! Very noble what he does for all kids, but especially the ones in need of an uplifitng.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    Finally CNN, a story that brought a tear to my eye. As a Father of a 4 year old cancer survivor, I say thank you. You are an incredible person.

    April 6, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Couldn't agree more.

      April 6, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bud

    Thanks, Lenny, for a job well done. We need more "Super Heroes" like you. Can't ya put in a call to the "League of Justice?"

    April 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Gary S

    He's my new hero. He's restored my faith that not all human beings are selfish wastes of space.
    I only wish I had thought of it.
    Kudos Lenny carry on.

    April 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. theoldfool1950

    This guy is great. If they ever start to clone humans he should be the first. He understands what is important and he does something about it. Here's to you Mr. Robinson – you are Batman.

    April 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cormudgeon

    Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice...Aquaman is making coffee.

    April 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • mgc6288

      I thought Chris Rock mentioned he drowned in the tub?

      April 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Hawkeye321

    The saying is true:

    The most important thing in life is to be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Always be Batman.

    April 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
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