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. Sydaixel

    Awesome guy. He's definitely my hero! Right on Batman, you rock!

    April 5, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark.

      From one fellow charity 'Batman' to another "good job Lenny, keep it up!"
      What he & the general public may or may not know is that there is a strong brotherhood of Batman fans that already do this all over the country, me being one of them.
      We all operate independently & the majority of us do not have Lenny's available funding & as impressive of a Batmobile but the main thing is that we do it for the kids in need & get paid in smiles. It's a great & very rewarding feeling to bring a little happiness into their lives,get the hugs & have your picture taken with all kinds & of kids, even the adult ones!?

      April 6, 2012 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. julzrael

    Gods bless him! What a hero!!!! Brings a tear to my eyes 🙂 So happy about this, and the looks on their faces...so many of them were just so into it, & so thrilled!! I love this so much!! More good deeds! YAY!

    April 5, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Christy

    That is so wonderful of him to do! God bless you for what you do! I know you really do make a difference in these childrens lives! You are a great person!

    April 5, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Barry

    Having played the Dark Knight myself some years back I can say he is probably having the time of life doing this. Way to go Lenny!!

    April 5, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • bkshepherd@alaska.net

      darn dyslexic fingers The time of his life

      April 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ann

    I'm just glad he wasn't some lunatic who thought he really was Batman working with the kids.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cheryl

    Lenny – If you're reading these, thank you for all you do. You are an exemplary person who has inspired hope for all of us through this wonderful story. God bless you and keep you safe!

    April 5, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cpc65

    Kudos for all this man does. He may be dressed as a fictional hero, but underneath that costume is a 100% real life hero. That being said, If I'm ever sick in the hospital, I'll take a visit from Wonder Woman thank you!

    April 6, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ira Radnick

    Very cool.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    Lenny, AKA Batman, you are doing a great thing and your heart is truly in the right place. You are making a difference in these kids' lives, with all the pain and troubles they are experiencing in their young lives, you are bringing them a smile. Keep up the good work.

    April 6, 2012 at 3:00 am | Report abuse |
  10. the hero in all of us

    Lenny, at the end of the day when you take off your costume and look in the mirror, you'll still see a hero.

    April 6, 2012 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ann

    General society has to be careful with the 'superpower' people images though. I.E., princesses, the above-mentioned costumed crusaders, etc. Children and adults might not pay enough attention to real life and its need for balance, constructive play time, observation around them, regular work ethics, etc. For the sick children, it is a break from their illnesses.

    April 6, 2012 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. Frank Garrett

    Those are cool cops, the ones around here would have still gave him a ticket in order to help meet their quota.

    April 6, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. Robin

    He never takes me along...

    April 6, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Spidey

      ROFL haha, nice!

      April 6, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  14. Junggg

    This guy rules.

    April 6, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. Proudgeek

    He has all that loads of money, and he spends it on this Batman shtick? Gives a bunch of it away to charity and helping ease the suffering of sick children?

    If this isn't a real-life Bruce Wayne, I dunno who is.

    God bless you, Lenny.

    The bible-verse spewing, job-killing, multiple-house owning, multiple-wife-marrying, hypocritical, insensitive, uncompassionate jerk-off Republicans could learn something from this guy.

    April 6, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
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