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. DPatriot

    Very cool guy

    April 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rapster

      Just dont carrry skittles Batman!! Our they will shoot you!

      April 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Andrew26

    The last time I was in the hospital ER, I was lured into a closet by a woman dressed as Zatanna. I woke up three hours later without my kidney!

    April 6, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Did she atleast leave you an iPhone or an iPad?

      April 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Random

      Why leave the testicles?

      April 6, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Random

      Response from Friend: “Ah, the old Zatanna scam again. I fell for her Catwoman.”
      Response from Mom: “Forget the scam story. We all know you sold it for a cell phone.”

      April 7, 2012 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rollins

    AWESOME!

    April 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rick

    I don't know if some batman sunglasses will help the kids fight cancer

    April 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      At least your name is indicative of your personality Dick.

      April 6, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zimmermans Revenge

      If they have eye cancer it will!

      April 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • RN

      Those kids will treasure those sunglasses as reminders of a special day with a real superhero. Sometimes that's all they have to get through the incredibly tough and painful challenges they face everyday.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. Desert1

    It may not cure cancer but at least hes trying to help those kids even with a pair of sunglasses and a costume,what have you done for sick kids RICK ??

    April 6, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bruce

    Another reason why Superman will always suck compared to The Bat.

    April 6, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tom

    What a great program! If you have ever worked in a childrens hospital you would know how much these kids appreciate the smallest gesture. This one is huge for kids. Go Batman!

    April 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    The world needs more people like Mr. Robinson.

    April 6, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Facist Pizza

    Im gonna show up as the Joker next time and physically assault him.

    April 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ciara

    Thanks. I spent a summer in & out of hospital as a little one and between 1988 & 2005, an inordinate amount of time in hospital (as an adult) and even without Ca, it's no fun. Thanks for brightening the days of the little ones. Anyone who's been in hospital appreciates your wonderful work!

    April 6, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BigJim

    What is so funny is that years ago, I read a Remo Williams adventure novel where a state trooper on the New Jersey Parkway pulled over a black sportscar and a guy dressed like Batman in full leathers....It said it was the third one that week....Holy Cow! Talk about life imitating art....

    April 7, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jerry

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

    When you read these two quotes from Mr. Robinson, you realize that there really are real superheroes among us. Like the 'real' Batman: Bruce Wayne, Mr. Robinson is a regular guy, he may not be able to fly, or run at superspeeds, but he and Bruce Wayne share the same ideals. By giving good people, children and parents the things they can be thankful for: 1) someone is watching out for them. 2) HOPE..

    Mr. Lenny Robinson, as a fellow Marylander, I salute you sir. In my book, you are the real Batman.

    April 7, 2012 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kerry

    Think of all the meals on wheels this kid could support if he sold his Lamborginii and did something for the benefit of society instead of being a publicity hound. I think he should be shunned for his juvenile stunts.

    April 7, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • RN

      He never sought out publicity – it found him when the police video was posted on the internet. He was content with anonymity, but is taking advantage of it to encourage more positive work in the world. He donated his own money and time to support kids in tough situations. The power of hope feeds the soul as much as meals on wheels feeds the hungry.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. RF Burns

    Sounds like a well intentioned soul. Though he needs to figure out a way to display his plates. After all, Batman should obey the law.

    April 7, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dave

    Wait, another real life batman? There was one recently that threatened to blow up a hospital, now this one is visiting one?

    April 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
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