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. blessedgeek

    "And for the next two hours he is as close to the #real# thing as possible."

    April 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AZ

    I'm so thinking that if he can afford a Lamborghini worth $250,000 and gives away $25,000 worth of Batman related items each year he could afford to get personalized license plates for his Batmobile...say..."BATMOBL". Just sayin' 🙂

    April 7, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • madvaca

      He has plates, and he keeps them inside his vehicle. Apparently that's legal in California since the officers didn't cite him when the plates were presented.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • UsayWha?

      Madvaca, Baltimore is in the State of Maryland, not in the state of California. that was mention a few times in the article and video.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe

    great guy!

    April 8, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Camille

      Howdy I am so delighted I found your blog, I lalrey found you by accident, while I was looking on Bing for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a marvelous post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the excellent work.

      April 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Holly


    April 8, 2012 at 5:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dianne B.

    What a big surprise! Wear a Batman suit, ride a batmobile without a licence plate, and act surprised when cops stop you. It's all a game. He wanted to get stopped so that he can advertise himself and act like it was out of his control. It's American idiocracy from beginning to end, including CNN making news out of this stupidity. There are other ways to reach the hospital and still do the same charity work. Hello?

    April 8, 2012 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Ether

      quit whining. what have you done that makes a difference?

      April 8, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • indyfan2

      Diane you need to take your Meds now. Why criticize someone for trying to help ease pain. Or are you just mad because he din't visit you?

      April 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adrian

      Dianne, you're ignorant. Turn off your computer and sit in a corner and grumble all day long. No one wants to hear it.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trish

      Wow, u r a horrible person....

      April 8, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gene V

      cynical much?

      April 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • A

      Ya, of course he got pulled over on purpose...you are not a smart person! Why do people always try to put down anyone who is trying to make a difference in the world. I applaud this man for everything he is doing for these kids. If everyone did a quarter of what he does, this world would not be as messed up as it is.

      Think before you reply to wonderful articles like this, and realize he has been doing this for a long time!

      April 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • elnyka

      You are a sad person.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe in Pittsburgh

      Only a true cynic can take an uplifting story about cancer victims and turn it into something negative. Well done! Please inform us on how much charity work you've done recently and how much impact it had on children's lives.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • frazik69

      You missed the whole point of what he is doing. Are you so unhappy with your life that you must spew a negative comment such as this? Explain to me what you think he should do. Does it really matter what costume that he dons or what he does as long as those children can forget for a few hours why they are in the hospital. Let me ask you what have you done lately for someone who is less priveledged or terminally ill? Instead of being negative why don't you show him up and do something extraordinary. I hope that you never have to go through what those children and their parents have to go through. Have a nice night and try and do something positive in your life.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benjamin

      Well, well... I thought to myself, How far down do I have to go in the comment section before I found a hater? I didn't have to go far. Is it his money or the fact that he's doing good things with his time that angers you more?

      April 9, 2012 at 5:14 am | Report abuse |
    • mark

      it sounds like he's been doing this for a while now. you'd think he would have done it on day one if he really wanted the media attention. or is this somehow another aspect to his self serving plan? how..pray tell, will he profit from this? i think in others we imagine ourselves first until we become better at seeing others as others. i can only assume you see yourself in his shoes. i wonder what religion you follow...

      April 9, 2012 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
    • LuisWu

      Only a pathetic loser would try to put a negative spin on this.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
    • bigtex

      When is the last time you volunteered to do anything (not counting volunteering to be first in line at the all you can eat buffet)?

      April 9, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      Dianne B. Are you upset that batman doesn't come to visit you?

      Seriously though, what this guy does is really cool and i'm glad he and people like him exist.

      – A

      April 9, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      What a bitter, sad person you are.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chantal

    Good man with a good heart and a great idea. Love it!

    April 8, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. Robin (@tango2paris)

    as a Batman sidekick all my life.....GO BATMAN!!! NANANANANANANNA BATMAN!!!! and for all the haters out there....FInd your inner Batman.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. kc

    Why is it when someone attempts to do or make another persons life a little better easier or happier , other people that are obviously unhappy with there lives want to tear them down. Lenny could teach you haters alot about what the human condition should be about. ROCK IT LENNY !

    April 8, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. lee

    finally someone doing positive things in our society. he is blessed with wealth, and he opts to share it for the good of the kids. good job man.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Higgins

    LOVE at WORK We all have hands help someone up,

    April 8, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. t

    now THIS is an American Hero

    April 8, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lamborghini

    Hey, Lamborghini of America, what about giving this guy a matte gray Reventón? It's for a good cause.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. TransWarpDrive

    Batman's creator, the late Bob Kane, would certainly be proud of Lenny. Mr. Kane created Batman for the kids, and it thrilled him no end to see how much they loved the Caped Crusader.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  14. mark

    i wonder if i had the funds and time...maybe i would do that but pick some obscure character and the kids would have to cheer me up when it's clear none of them recognize me... maybe i could be molecule man 🙂

    April 9, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  15. LuisWu

    What a great guy. Wish there were more people like him in the world.

    April 9, 2012 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
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