Superheroes for Kids Blog
Lenny Robinson 1963-2015
Posted on 08/19/2015 @ 12:41 PM
Route 29 Batman is killed after his Batmobile breaks down in Maryland
The Batmobile pulled into a gas station Sunday night and, as usual, the children who spotted it gawked.
Lenny B. Robinson was used to that. The Maryland man, better known as the Route 29 Batman, had for years dressed as the Caped Crusader and driven his custom-made car to deliver moments of happiness and distraction to hundreds of sick children at area hospitals.
His costume stored in the Batmobile but his alter ego never entirely switched off, Robinson gave the kids at the gas station some superhero paraphernalia before driving off.
Minutes later, Robinson pulled over with engine trouble on an unlit stretch of Interstate 70 near Hagerstown, Md., police said. The people he had just met parked behind him, turning their emergency lights on.
His car was stopped in the median but still “partially in the fast lane” when he got out to check the engine, according to state police. Around 10:30 p.m., a Toyota Camry slammed into the Batmobile, propelling the steel-framed hunk of black metal into his body. Robinson, 51, died at the scene. His funeral is scheduled for Wednesday in Owings Mill, Md.
In March 2012, police on Route 29 in Silver Spring, Md., pulled over Lenny B. Robinson dressed head to toe in Batman gear and driving a black Lamborghini with the Batman symbol on its license plate. (Associated Press)
[How America’s superheroes — including the official Dark Knight — are mourning the tragic death of the Route 29 Batman]
The crash is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed. The driver of the Camry, who was not injured, declined to comment.
Robinson’s devastated family and friends gathered Monday at his parents’ home in Owings Mills, remembering him as a son and a brother, an uncle to three nieces and a father to three boys.
Though he was divorced and his kids lived in New Jersey, Robinson drove every weekend to pick up his sons and bring them to his home outside Baltimore.
“He was my brother, my business partner, my best friend,” Scott Robinson said. “He touched a lot of lives and made a lot of kids smile. That’s all he wanted to do.”
Robinson made his money in the cleaning business. He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, his brother said, on his ’60s-style Batmobile, a costume that seemed more real than those in the movies, and the trinkets he handed out to children, always autographed “Batman.”
It took him about 45 minutes to put on the black eye makeup and his cumbersome superhero uniform, which drained him of five to six pounds in water weight every time he wore it.
Lenny Robinson and Wonder Woman (Leslie Vincent from Cast of Thousands), with patient Fatou Mboge and her mom, Awa Janneh, at the annual Hope for Henry Superhero Celebration at Georgetown Hospital. (Allen Goldberg) In hospitals, he didn’t walk so much as stride.
Batman became famous three years ago after he was pulled over by Montgomery County police on Route 29 in a black Lamborghini and full superhero garb. Video of his encounter in Silver Spring with police, who had stopped him because of a problem with his plates — emblazoned with the Batman symbol — made him an instant Web sensation. But his identity remained unknown until The Washington Post revealed it.
[Who is the Route 29 Batman? This guy.]
The video and story turned up in millions of Facebook news feeds, even making it into a Jimmy Fallon monologue.
He first started wearing the costume because one of his sons, Brandon, was obsessed with the character. But when he saw how children reacted, Robinson found a new purpose.
The good deeds he did in character were, in some ways, penance for a temper that had led him to fights and run-ins with the law years ago.
Yuri Ozeryan, an amateur filmmaker who followed Robinson in 2012 for a now-stalled documentary, said Robinson joked that he had “bat senses,” his way of describing a willingness earlier in life to defend people — even with his fists.
“Sometimes,” Ozeryan added, “he might have started it.”
But the suit, Ozeryan said, changed him.
As the Dark Knight, Robinson used a deep voice, but he was careful to never scare younger children. He liked to pick up the smallest ones and hold them up so they could look down into his eyes.
He had a theory on why the character resonated with kids, explaining it in a 2012 online chat with Post readers.
“Batman is the only superhero that doesn’t have superpowers,” he said. “He’s naturally a superhero. Kids can relate to me a lot better.”
He also recalled the comment from parents that he coveted most: “This is the first time my son or daughter has smiled in months.”
On one visit to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, there were kids with tubes in their noses, with IVs in their arms. Robinson handed out gifts: books, rubber symbol bracelets and other toys. They all thought he was the real Batman.
Robinson worked closely with Hope for Henry, a D.C. organization that helps sick children. Founded by Laurie Strongin and Allen Goldberg after their son Henry died from a rare disease, the group threw superhero parties in hospitals. Batman was the star.
“When I asked him to do anything,” Strongin said, “he always said yes.”
Robinson had never met Henry, but he called her every year on the boy’s birthday.
She cried all morning Monday. The organization had just finished producing a video about the program. It starts with a boy dressed as Batman. He has leukemia. He’s waiting outside a hospital. The real Batman — Lenny Robinson — pulls up in his Batmobile, gets out and hugs the boy.
“He was magic,” Strongin said.
Marilyn Richardson, who works at Sinai Hospital’s Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics in Baltimore, met Robinson about a decade ago when Batman, in his humbler days, was still driving a Chrysler PT Cruiser. He later upgraded to the Lamborghini before having the custom car built.
She has thousands of photos of him and nearly as many stories.
On Monday, she recalled the teenager who, while recovering from surgery, had grown depressed as she saw friends on Facebook enjoying the life she wanted. One day, the girl looked out of her hospital room window and noticed the Batmobile.
Then the Caped Crusader walked in.
“Oh, my gosh,” she said. “Batman’s here.”
Robinson took a photo with her, and she uploaded it to Facebook. When Richardson saw her later, the girl was glowing: “I’ve never gotten this many likes.”
Another time, he was walking down the hall and came upon a solitary elderly woman staring at the floor. She looked up and saw him.
“Well, hello young lady,” he said. She stood up straight and beamed.
But no one adored Robinson more than Elizabeth Gardner, who lives in Reisterstown, Md., and suffers from TAR syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that has left her arms severely shortened.
She was 6 — and intensely afraid of costumed characters — when she first met Batman four years ago. They clicked.
“It was such a huge, huge moment in that he was able to break down that barrier,” said her mother, Lisa. “He just had a beautiful spirit about him.”
Elizabeth later told Robinson that she was being bullied by other kids at her elementary school.
“They don’t believe that Batman is my friend,” she told him.
So Robinson went to school with her, appearing in full costume before the student body. He told Elizabeth’s classmates that bullying was wrong and called her onstage to give her a Batman necklace.
Elizabeth, he announced, is my friend.
Later, in a moment captured on film, the two sat facing each other behind the stage. He had taken off his gloves to cool his sweaty hands in front of a fan.
“I wish I could be more like you,” he told her.
The girl shook her head no.
“That won’t do,” she said. “You’re your own person.”
Robinson’s funeral will be at noon Wednesday in Owings Mills, Md., at the Har Sinai Congregation, 2905 Walnut Ave. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations be made to Superheroes for Kids, c/o Marilyn Richardson of Sinai Hospital, 2401 W. Belvedere Ave., Baltimore, MD 21215.
Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.
Baltimore’s Batman Gets A New Batmobile
Aug 5, 2012
It’s been a tough couple months for a charitable man better known as Baltimore’s Batman.
But, Gigi Barnett reports, Batman is getting a new toy that he hopes the kids will love.
This car is a limited edition. It’s loaded with flashing lights, buttons that trigger a parachute and flames that shoot from the back. Lenny B. Robinson custom-ordered it three years ago and it finally came in this week.
Another thing about Robinson– he’s Baltimore’s Batman.
“There are no windows and there is no roof,” Robinson said of his new Batmobile.
For the past 11 years, Robinson has spent his spare time visiting sick children in hospitals around the country. In fact, back in March, he was headed to a hospital when Montgomery County Police pulled him over for not properly displaying the license plate on his old Batmobile, a Lamborghini.
“He was just, ‘Hey, buddy, do you have a license plate?’” Robinson said. “The police officer was really cool.”
Then, last month– shortly after the Colorado movie shooting that killed 12 people and wounded dozens more last month– two hospitals called and canceled Robinson’s visit with the kids.
“I understand it and I respect their decision and fortunately, the other hospitals welcomed me,” Robinson said.
That’s why wherever he goes, Robinson continues to pick up fans who just want a picture with him, and now, the Batmobile.
“We saw the car and thought it would be a good idea to follow him. It’s a cool car,” said Shawn Edwards.
Despite the shooting in Aurora, Colo., Robinson says he received many more phone calls from many hospitals around the nation asking him to bring the Batmobile and greet kids at hospitals.
Robinson says he wanted the 1966 version of the Batmobile because it is the original vehicle. He says it does have all of the proper license plates.
Super visit to WVU Children's Hospital
Aug 4, 2012
Dozens of excited children shrieked, "Wow, look ... it's really Batman!" when Batman impersonator Lenny "B as in Batman" Robinson arrived in front of Ruby Memorial Hospital on Friday morning.
With the 1960s "Batman" theme song wailing in the background, Robinson, dressed in a 40-pound suit, drove up in a custom-built Batmobile to visit patients at WVU Children's Hospital.
Formerly the owner of a cleaning business in Owings Mills, Md., Robinson, 48, has spent the last 11 years visiting children's hospitals dressed as Batman.
"I dress as Batman because he is a real person. Not to knock Spider-Man or Superman, but Batman is a real person with natural skills and powers. Kids relate to Batman because of that. I'm not like SpongeBob who lives under the sea, I'm real. Well, at least I think I am," Robinson said, laughing.
WVU Children's Hospital was the final stop on Robinson's most recent tour, which included appearances at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital, in Indianapolis, Children's Hospital of Illinois, in Peoria, Ill., and Nationwide Children's Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio, according to a media release.
After the July 20 shooting in Aurora, Colo., at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," St. Louis Children's Hospital and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, of Chicago, canceled Robinson's appearances. Those visits were scheduled only days after the incident. Hospital administrators believed images of the tragedy were still too fresh.
Leigh Limerick, spokeswoman for WVU Healthcare, said Robinson's appearance at WVU Children's Hospital was scheduled months before the shooting.
After shaking hands and giving hugs, high-fives and gifts to kids outside, Robinson made his way into children's hospital where he spent time with what he calls the "real superheroes."
Jenna Tuttle, 7, was shocked and surprised when a hospital staffer told her Batman was there to visit her.
Tuttle, who recently had surgery on her left arm, talked and laughed with Batman and even had him sign her cast and a notebook.
"I think this has really made her happy," said Joel Tuttle, Jenna's father. "She's been kind of down lately, so just seeing her smile makes me very happy."
In 2001, Robinson began making monthly visits to children's hospitals in the Baltimore area, he said. But now, he dons his suite and cape three to four times a week.
"I was doing it more as a part-time job then; just visiting kids like four or five times a month. But now, I'm doing it about 12 times a month because I can tell I'm making a difference in their lives," Robinson said.
Robinson was thrust into the national spotlight in March, when a police video of him being pulled over in Silver Springs, Md., went viral.
"I was driving my black Lamborghini dressed in my Batman costume, and got pulled over because my license plate was just the Batman symbol," Robinson said, pointing to the symbol on his utility belt.
The video made Robinson a YouTube sensation, but more importantly, he said it brought attention to his mission of helping sick children.
"It's all about the kids and making them feel better, that's what's important and sometimes I think we lose sight of that," he said.
No payment is required from any of the hospitals Robinson visits, he said.
"I do it for the kids. The costs of the costume, the car, gas, insurance, everything is done on my own dime," he said.
Robinson's website, superheroesforkids.org, has a place where people can make donations to assist him.
"When I make my visits, I just ask that the hospitals consider making a donation to my website; some do and some don't."
Before the end of each visit, Robinson always has one final request for kids.
"l always say, 'I need you to do Batman a favor, and get better,' " he said. "Getting well is a mental thing as much as a physical one. It's in their minds. I ask them to get better and they say, 'Yes, Batman I will get better, I promise.' Kids are getting better and I'm helping them."
(c)2012 The Dominion Post (Morgantown, W.Va.)
Visit The Dominion Post (Morgantown, W.Va.) at www.dominionpost.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Holy Batman! The Dark Knight Makes A Stop At WVU Children's Hospital
Aug 3, 2012
Some kids at WVU Children's Hosital got a special visitor Friday.
The Dark Knight, better known as Batman, took a break from helping the folks in Gotham City to spend the day in the University City.
However, there was no bat signal, or Robin, but there were a lot of smiling kids and folks saying 'holy hospital Batman!'
A couple hundred folks were lined up to catch a glimpse of the Caped Crusader.
His visit started with him driving up in his Batmobile, which of played Batman tunes.
Unfortunately his real name wasn't Bruce Wayne.
The man in the suit was actually 48 year-old Lenny Robinson, whose made a name for himself by stopping at children's hospitals all across the country.
Friday was his last stop on his most recent tour.
He told 5 news that he wants to bring some smiles to kids who are sick.
He even set up a foundation called Super Heroes for Kids.
Also unfortunately also didn't he come with any super powers, but you wouldn't have guessed that by looking at the smiles on the kids faces.
Robinson that's his goal by showing up in the Batman gear.
"For them to get better, sure they need the professionals," Robinson said. "They need their doctors and nurses. They need their mindset in order to get better."
If you would like to help with Super Heroes for kids, you can click here.
Hope for Henry comes to Rt. 29 Batman’s defense
Aug 2, 2012
Earlier this week I reported that Lenny B. Robinson — the Route 29 Batman — had run into some snags visiting children’s hospitals on a cross-country roadtrip following the Colorado Batman movie massacre.
Hospitals in St. Louis and Chicago canceled his appearances, apparently concerned his visits would stir scary thoughts about the movie theater killings. The cancellations made national news even as The traffic stop that changed Lenny B. Robinson’s life. (AP Photo/WLJA-TV) other hospitals decided to let his visits continue.
Hope for Henry, a prominent D.C.-area charity Robinson has worked closely with for years, has now come to his defense. Founders Laurie Strongin and Allen Goldberg, who lost their son Henry to cancer, published an Op-Ed in today’s paper, calling the cancellations “a misguided overreaction.”
“The adults were wrong, and these kids, already suffering, were unfairly penalized,” the couple wrote, adding:
From the parents of these patients to the doctors who treat them, all confirm that visits from a superhero — whether the comic-book kind or real-life athletes or actors, such as “Dark Knight” star Christian Bale, who visited hospitalized victims in Aurora — are welcome. Indeed, they are indispensable to help break up the pain and monotony of hospital stays.
We know this personally. Our son Henry, the inspiration for our nonprofit foundation, was hospitalized for months over his short life of seven years. He wore a Batman costume from his earliest days until his death.
Their argument is impassioned and persuasive, particularly the ending. They note that the hospital in Chicago had consulted psychologists before canceling Robinson’s visits. Strongin and Goldberg’s retort: “Maybe they should have spoken to the kids.”
Viral Video Batman Visits Kids At Indy Hospital
Jul 30, 2012
Lenny B. Robinson Gained Attention After Being Pulled Over In Full Costume
INDIANAPOLIS -- A Maryland man who sparked a viral video sensation after he was pulled over while dressed as Batman put some serious miles on his Batmobile to visit children at an Indianapolis hospital Monday.
Lenny B. Robinson pulled up at Peyton Manning's Children Hospital at St. Vincent in a custom-made Batmobile and dressed in his full caped crusader suit, thrilling patients and staff alike.
Slideshow: Viral Video Batman Visits Kids At Indy Hospital
The 48-year-old businessman, who has dressed as the superhero to cheer sick kids for several years, made news in March when he was pulled over for issues with his plates while dressed as Batman.
The video went viral and Robinson's touching story came to light, prompting national attention and sparking his nationwide road trip to visit children's hospitals across the country.
Robinson spent time going from room to room at Peyton Manning's Children Hospital, talking with patients and cheering up children who couldn't get up to greet him.
Robinson will also visit hospitals in St. Louis, Chicago and Ohio.
Interview on Sirus XM (audio)
Posted on 07/27/2012 @ 10:52 AM
Interview with Lenny "Batman" Robinson on Howard 100 News
Batman stops fighting crime to help cheer up local children
Jul 26, 2012
PEORIA, Ill. -- The caped crusader is out and about once again, but this time he isn't fighting crime.
Batman, also known as Maryland businessman Lenny B. Robinson, made a stop in Peoria Thursday at the Children's Hospital of Illinois to help boost the kids' spirits.
Batman has been visiting sick children in the Baltimore area for 11 years, but this summer decided to do a road trip in his Batmobile to bring the superhero to life for children all across the nation.
"It made me feel a lot better. It makes me feel awesome. It makes me feel very cared and loved," said 10 year old patient Kaylee Sroka.
"That's what it is all about. Then I know I'm doing something good. That's the answer, that is the true answer," said Batman, aka Lenny Robinson.
Batman got his new Batmobile last month from a Canadian company that specializes in replicating vehicles seen in movies and tv shows.
The new Batmobile is a replica of the original Batmobile from the 1966 television show, and yes it does shoot flames.
'Batman' visits the Children's Hospital of Illinois
Jul 26, 2012
PEORIA — Lenny B. Robinson is a businessman from Maryland who has been known to answer his phone by saying, “this is Batman.”
The night before he visited children at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, and after signing some autographs for Australian tourists who spotted the Batmobile in front of his hotel, he spelled his name for two reporters.
“Lenny, B as in Batman, Robinson,” he said.
To the dozens of kids that met him at the hospital Thursday, that’s exactly who he was. Dressed in a full Batman costume, Robinson drove an Adam West-era Batmobile to the hospital, escorted by two police vehicles and a fire engine blaring their sirens.
“Batman, hey Batman!” yelled one young boy trying to get his attention. Parents and kids lined up for photos, some gifts and a quick chat with the Dark Knight himself.
Dawson Huckaby might be too young to know who Batman is, but Thursday’s visit was his first chance to get out of his hospital room in a week, his father Dustin Huckaby said.
“He loves the car,” he said.
Dawson isn’t the only one. The car is a true-to-form replica of the one that appeared in the original 1960s TV show, attracting gawkers wherever it goes. The CD player has Batman-themed songs on a loop, the batphone sits between the seats and the radar glows on the passenger-side dashboard.
Most of the buttons and gadgets are for show, Robinson said, but flames do shoot from the back with a press of a button. (No confirmation on whether it makes it go faster.)
Robinson picked up the car in Canada about a month ago, then embarked on a coast-to-coast tour, visiting sick children in hospitals across the country. It’s something he’s done for a number of years, but he recently launched his own foundation, Superheroes for Kids.
Robinson gained some notoriety in March, when his Batman-decorated Lamborghini was pulled over — while Robinson was in costume. A photo of Batman talking to police during the traffic stop went viral, and became a punchline on late night TV shows and cable news networks. The Washington Post subsequently unmasked Robinson as the Caped Crusader.
Being Batman hasn’t been easy these days. Robinson was in mid-tour when the Aurora, Colo. shooting occurred during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” A hospital in St. Louis canceled his scheduled appearance afterward, but Robinson vowed to keep going.
“At the heart of the movie is a central heroic figure that gives hope,” he wrote on his foundation’s Facebook page. “The shootings in Colorado was a tragic event, but will not stop me from portraying Batman. I will continue to portray this iconic superhero, giving courage to sick children around the world that need it most.”
John Hageman can be reached at 686-3194 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jhageman_.
Rt. 29 Batman, with new Batmobile, vows to continue mission after massacre
Jul 24, 2012
The Route 29 Batman — Lenny B. Robinson — has ditched his Lamborghini Batmobile for a $200,000 replica of the original Batmobile. It breathes fire. It is 21.5 feet long. It has no roof.
“It looks like the Batmobile, and it acts like the Batmobile,” Robinson told me. “As much as people liked the Lamborghini, this thing blows that away. I’ve seen people’s mouths literally drop when I’m out on the road.”
Robinson picked up his new wheels earlier this summer from a custom Robinson being pulled over on Route 29 by Montgomery County police. (Handout photo courtesy of Montgomery County) car maker in British Columbia, and he’s been driving cross-country back to his home in Maryland, avoiding the rain, visiting children in hospitals, appearing in parades, and raising awareness for his new charity, Superheroes for Kids.
He started the group after I unmasked him as the dude dressed as Batman who was pulled over on Route 29 for not having proper plates while headed to visit sick kids. Robinson became an international star. He was on Diane Sawyer’s show. He was on CNN. He was on TV in countries he’s never heard of. Warner Brothers sent him t-shirts and Batgear to give sick kids.
The inside of Robinson's new Batmobile (Handout photo courtesy of Robinson)Robinson’s new Batmobile has a special license plate, thanks to help from Maryland’s motor vehicle department. It is: 4BATMAN.
I caught up with Robinson while he was in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It was in the hours before the new Batman movie was to open, and he was naturally very excited, with plans to see the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in his Batman gear.
Early the next morning, following the massacre a couple states over in Colorado, I woke up to a text message from Robinson. He was deeply saddened by the shootings at the start of the “Dark Knight Rises.” The text message said, “What is this world coming to when one can no longer enjoy a movie without real fear?”
But Robinson has not been disheartened. He has vowed to press on, visiting sick kids wherever and whenever he can — as Batman.
He posted the following message on his Facebook page:
My heart goes out to the family and friends of those who were affected by the shooting in Aurora, Colorado on Thursday night. This senseless act of violence has nothing to do with the Warner Bros’ Batman franchise. At the heart of the movie is a central heroic figure that gives hope. The shootings in Colorado was a tragic event, but will not stop me from portraying Batman. I will continue to portray this iconic superhero, giving courage to sick children around the world that need it most.
He was just in St. Louis. And then he’s headed for Chicago. And then Indianapolis. And Ohio. And West Virginia. And onward.
The ‘Lamborghini Batman’ Just Got A Real Batmobile To Visit Sick Kids Across The Country
Jul 24, 2012
Lenny B. Robinson is the "Maryland Batman" who made headlines earlier this year when he was pulled over — while in costume — by state troopers in his Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. Robinson, who dons the batsuit when he visits childrens' hospitals, has ditched the Lambo and picked up a custom-made, down-to-the-last-detail Batmobile.
The superhero exists because we, as a society, need to believe that whatever evil there may be in the world will be met a stronger force for good. We met evil last week, also dressed as a Batman character.
Lamborghini Batman serves as a reminder that in a world where unpredictable terror occurs, unprovoked goodness is much less anomalous.
Robinson took delivery of the car in British Columbia in late June, and is spending the summer on a cross-continent trip back to Maryland, supporting his charity, Superheroes For Kids. He spent most of July in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, appearing with the car in a parade, getting some repairs done and making appearances at local pediatric centers. On Thursday night, Robinson told us, he bat-attended the local opening of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Rises.
Robinson's new Batmobile had been on special order from BC firm Unique Movie Cars and Props, which built it to 1960s bat-spec. The original, based on the 1959 Lincoln Futura concept, was a George Barris-designed custom created for the ABC-TV show. It was first dubbed "Futura Show Car" before being rechristened for the show's title character when Batman debuted on January 12, 1966.
The 'Lamborghini Batman' Just Got A Real Batmobile To Visit Sick Kids Across The CountryRobinson's new Batreplica — aka "Anti Crime Roadster," in copyright-free parlance — was built from the ground up, with no donor car. It has a urethane bodyshell, worked Ford V8 and a Ford C6 transmission. It's also got period-correct on-board props like a Bat-radarscope, bat-wing steering wheel and lots of other such paraphernalia, just like the original. Pro-touring hardware wizards Craig and Art Morrison created the chassis.
The 'Lamborghini Batman' Just Got A Real Batmobile To Visit Sick Kids Across The CountryUnique Movie Cars and Props appears to have the replica Batmobile market sewn up — the company builds the cars primarily on early-1970s Lincoln Continental, GM station wagon or Chrysler chassis. Robinson's car, he says, was fabricated from the ground up, with a tubular steel frame, polished control arms, Aldan adjustable coilovers and urethane-bushed mounts, and sculpted shock towers.
Along the way back east, Robinson plans to visit kids at the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent in Indianapolis, and at similar hospitals in South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio and West Virginia. Robinson has been visiting Maryland-area childrens' hospitals in Bat-drag since 2001 — midway between George Clooney and Christian Bale.
Robinson says of his Bat visits.
It feels like I have a responsibility that's beyond a normal person. And that responsibility is to be there for the kids, to be strong for them, and to make them smile as much as I can.
Robinson's star-turn happened this past March, when he was stopped by cops in Montgomery County, Maryland for driving without tags on his black-on-black-with-yellow-trim Lambo Spyder (borrowed from Spyderman?). Having made the stop, Chief O'Hara (or whoever) tweeted the incident, making Lenny a star overnight.
"Batman" Lenny B. Robinson Stops in STL with Tricked Out Batmobile
Jul 24, 2012
It's not an easy week to be a Batman impersonator. Lenny B. ("as in Batman") Robinson came to St. Louis this week to take his new custom-made, obsessively-detailed real-life Batmobile to visit kids receiving treatment at the St. Louis Children's Hospital. In the wake of a shooting that claimed 12 lives at a midnight screening of The Dark Night Rises, the hospital canceled Robinson's visit.
Robinson has been driving across the country, stopping at hospitals to visit with sick children as Batman and he says he hopes to continue to bring happiness to others, despite the recent tragedy.
Daily RFT found the notoriously reclusive, quirky superhero [impersonator] in the Bat Cave (eh hem, the underground parking garage at the Hyatt Regency) and spoke to him about the shooting in Aurora, his kids, and driving a car that shoots fire but doesn't have A/C (go figure).
Robinson made headlines earlier this year when he was pulled over in one of the most ridiculous traffic stops and greatest viral videos of all time. Maryland's Finest stopped Robinson in his earlier Batmobile, a sleek black Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, and found him en route to a Washington D.C.-area hospital in a full 40 lbs, leather and neoprene Batman costume.
Robinson hasn't donned the suit since the shooting in Aurora. When asked if he's disappointed that his visit with the STL Children's Hospital was canceled, Robinson says "Batman cannot lie."
"I was very disappointed. My heart was hurt, but I understand," he says. "I may not agree, but I understand. This will not stop me. It's a bump in the road, it's a delay but I'm not going to let it stop me."
A spokesperson for St. Louis Children's Hospital said that after consulting with child psychiatrists on staff, they decided it was too soon after the shooting for a visit from Batman.
When he visits children who ask about the shooting, Robinson says he will be honest. "It was a senseless tragedy, committed by an insane coward. My heart goes out to the victims, families, people recovering in the hospital and Batman fans everywhere," he says, adding that he believes the shooter, James Holmes was a sick, heinous individual who did something senseless.
Robinson says he's still on to visit hospitals in other cities, as he works his way back to Maryland, where he appears as Batman to lift children's spirits. He picked up the new Batmobile in June from the Canadian firm Unique Movie Cars and Props in British Columbia, where it was custom built to a T to resemble the original Batmobile from the 1966 television series.
The Batman obsession started with his youngest son, who has appeared by his side many times, as Robin.
"It would be 100 degrees outside and we'd go to the pool or the grocery store and he'd be in his Batman costume," Robinson says of his son as a child. "And of course, it was always any day except October 31." He added that his kids love that he's Batman and are proud of his charity organization Superheroes for Kids.
After Robinson sold his company in 2007, he was able to put more time and cash into his passion.
The new Batmobile is tricked out with a turbo Ford racing motor. A device in back shoots fire from a propane tank in the trunk but the Bat Ray projector, realistic as it may be, won't actually shut down another car's transmission. Somehow, Robinson managed to score the license plate "4Batman".
Robinson is in town for a couple more days, so listen for the 1966 theme song and keep an eye to the sky. You might see a Bat Signal.
Who is the Route 29 Batman? This guy.
Posted on 06/11/2012 @ 02:11 PM
The Washington Post
By Michael S. Rosenwald
Police pulled a man over on Route 29 in Silver Spring last week because of a problem with his plates. This would not ordinarily make international news, but the car was a black Lamborghini, the license plate was the Batman symbol, and the driver was Batman, dressed head-to-toe in full superhero regalia.
HOLY MOVING VIOLATION!
It didn’t take long before images of the Dark Knight’s encounter with law enforcement began turning up in Facebook news feeds, on CNN and the London tabloids. The episode even made it into Jimmy Fallon’s monologue on NBC earlier this week.
Jokers emerged instantaneously too. “Let him do his job,” one commenter urged on the Post Web site. “Batman has expensive taste,” noted another. Meanwhile, questions about Batman’s identity mounted: “Did they make him take off his mask?” someone asked.
No, they did not. Even Montgomery County police honor a superhero code of conduct, just like the Howard County officers who once helped him with a flat bat tire. Batman told officers his real name was not Bruce Wayne but Lenny B. Robin- son, and that his real tags were in the car. (He was not ticketed then, but has been be- fore for a heavy bat foot.)
The Caped Crusader is a businessman from Baltimore County who visits sick children in hospitals, handing out Batman paraphernalia to up-and-coming superheros who first need to beat cancer and other wretched diseases.
I actually know Batman. His parents are dear friends of my wife’s family, and I see him at holiday dinners where my 4-year- old son believes he is the real-life Bruce Wayne. “Daddy, he’s Batman, too,” my son will whisper to me. Though Batman has long been aware that I’m a journalist, he has never suggested I write about him. He does not crave publicity. Like his comic book namesake, he doesn’t seek credit for what he does.
“I’m just doing it for the kids,” he says.
But in light of him going viral — “Gotham City is on the verge of chaos,” Anderson Cooper informed CNN viewers — I asked him whether I could unveil the man be- hind the mask. He acquiesced but suggest- ed I do so by accompanying him to the cancer ward at Children’s National Med- ical Center in Northwest Washington for a superhero party thrown by the Hope for Henry organization. On Monday, he pulled up in his black Lambo with yellow Batman symbols on the doors, the floor mats, the headrests — pretty much everywhere — and he was dressed in his heavy leather and neoprene uniform that he bought from a profession- al costume maker.
He carried two large bags of Batman books, rubber Batman symbol bracelets and various other toys up to the front desk, where the check-in attendant asked him his name.
“Batman,” he said.
Camera phones were snapping. A man in line said, “That’s the guy who got pulled over.” Someone asked where Robin was, and Batman replied, “Home studying for the SATs.”
The check-in attendant asked for identification. Batman said it was in his Batmobile. The check-in attendant, just doing her job, asked for his real name. “Lenny,” he announced. “B, as in Batman. Robinson.”
It took Batman approximately 20 minutes to reach the elevators. He stopped to hand out Batman toys to every child he saw, picking them up for pictures, asking them how they were feeling. LaTon Dicks snapped a photo of Batman standing be- hind her son DeLeon in his wheelchair. She’d recognized the Batmobile on her way in to the hospital. Like everyone else, she’d seen a TV report on him being stopped by the police and protested, “You can’t pull over Batman.”
When Batman finally reached the elevator for the slow ride up to the cancer ward, I could see his face already sweating behind the mask. He told me he loses 5 to 6 pounds in water weight when he wears the superhero uniform. He paid $5,000 for it. He spends $25,000 a year of his own money on Batman toys and memorabilia.
Batman is 48. He is a self-made success and has the bank account to prove it. He recently sold, for a pile of cash, a commercial cleaning business that he started as a teenager. He became interested in Batman through his son Brandon, who was obsessed with the caped crusader when he was little. “I used to call him Batman,” he told me. “His obsession became my obsession.”
Batman began visiting Baltimore area hospitals in 2001, sometimes with his now teenage son Brandon playing Robin. Once other hospitals and charities heard about his car and his cape, Batman was put on superhero speed dial for children’s causes around the region. He visits sick kids at least couple times a month, sometimes more often. He visits schools, too, to talk about bullying. He does not do birthday parties.
His superhero work is limited to doing good deeds, part of a maturation process in his own life. In his earlier years, he ac- knowledges that he sometimes displayed an unsuperhero-like temper and got into occasional trouble with the law for fights and other confrontations. Putting on the Batman uniform changes and steadies him.
“Eventually, it sinks in and you become him,” Batman told me. “It feels like I have a responsibility that’s beyond a normal person. And that responsibility is to be there for the kids, to be strong for them, and to make them smile as much as I can.” He understands that might sound corny, but he doesn’t care.
Batman stepped off the elevator on the fourth floor of Children’s. Spider-Man and Wonder Woman were there too — both professional actors from talent agencies, on the clock. He picked up a little boy and said, “I have a present for you.” He shook hands with a father and handed him a yellow rubber Batman bracelet, saying, “This will bring you good luck.” The father said, “We need good luck.”
The parents always say that.
Batman asked each child his or her name. He lifted up almost every child. Many were weak, their hair thin from chemo. He always told them, “I have a present for you.” When a little girl ran away, perhaps a bit scared, Batman said, “That’s the story of Batman’s love life.” (He is divorced.)
Batman overheard a mother tell someone that her toddler was going home the next day, and holding the toddler, and hugging him gently, Batman said, “I’m really glad you are feeling better.”
Stephanie Broadhead of California, Md., was leaning against the wall while her 10- year-old daughter Claire was having her face drawn by an artist. Claire has leukemia. Batman stopped by to marvel at the picture and hand Claire some gifts. “This makes a very hard thing to deal with a little easier,” Claire’s mom said.
Superhero visits to hospitals let kids be kids in a scary, adult place, but the activities are indeed therapeutic, too, the chief doctor on the cancer floor told me.
“These visits provide an immediate boost for these kids,”said Jeffrey Dome, the oncology division chief at Children’s. “Some of these children have to stay for weeks or months at a time. That wears down the children and it wears down the family. You have to keep up morale. A visit from a superhero is sort of like a fantasy in the middle of all this hard-core therapy.”
As Batman wandered around from child to child, I asked him, “Isn’t this hard?”
His children are healthy. My children are healthy .
“We are very lucky,” he said. “All I can say is we are very, very lucky.”
The party began winding down. Spider- Man changed out of his costume. Wonder Woman changed out of hers. They said goodbye to Batman, still working the floor, as he posed for a photo with a patient’s father. The father thanked Batman and said, “I saw you on the news — Route 29.”
“I think everyone saw me on Route 29,” Batman acknowledged. He asked the nurses at the front desk whether there were any children who couldn’t come out of their rooms to see him.
Assured that there weren’t, Batman headed back down to his Batmobile, followed by the mother of a baby girl with cancer and her healthy 4-year-old son, whose only goal in life at that moment was to see the Batmobile. When the boy saw the car, I thought his eyeballs were going to separate from his body. (Batman is actually in the process of having a just-like-the- movies Batmobile built for $250,000, but it’s not ready yet.)
Batman revved the engines and blasted the audio system — the Batman theme song. Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Batman! He revved the engine some more. The little boy didn’t want to say goodbye, but his mom told him, “Batman needs to go fight the bad guys.”
The little boy cried.
“I want to go help him fight the bad guys,” he said.
His mom said, “You need to go help your sister fight cancer.”
Batman sped away.
Real Life Batman Fights To Help Sick Kids
May 1, 2012
HOLY REVELATION! BATMAN IS real, but he’s no crime-fighter – he’s something even better!
His real identity is Lenny B. Robinson, a wealthy Baltimore businessman by day, and by night (and other times) a Caped Crusader who visits hospitals to brighten up the lives of kids suffering from cancer and other diseases.
“The real superheroes are the children in the hospital,” said Robinson, 48. “They are fighting every day for their lives.”
Robinson got interested in Batman when his teenage son Brandon was a young child and the Dark Knight was the boy’s favorite comic book hero. About 12 years ago, Robinson got the idea to visit sick kids dressed as Batman.
Since he had money to spare from a commercial cleaning company he owned, Robinson went all out to look the part.
He bought a pricey Lamborghini and decked it out with the Batman insignia. Then he spent $5,000 for a leather and neoprene outfit made by a professional costume maker.
He also forks out about $25,000 a year on Batman toys, books, T-shirts, backpacks and other memorabilia to give to the kids.
“Eventually it sinks in and you become him,” said Robinson of the Gotham City vigilante. “It feels like I have a responsibility that’s beyond a normal person. And that responsibility is to be there for the kids, to be strong for them, and to make them smile as much as I can.”
Robinson knows that that sounds corny, but he couldn’t care less.
When he started visiting sick children, his reputation spread by word of mouth and soon other hospitals were sending up the bat signal for Robinson to visit their children.
As a side duty, he gives lectures to students about the evils of bullying.
On a recent visit to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Robinson, as Batman, walked up to the front desk lugging two bags of Batman books, rubber Batman symbol bracelets and various other toys.
The check-in attendant asked him his name and Robinson replied: “Batman.”
Then it was off to the children’s cancer ward, where Robinson stopped to pick up a sick child, who smiled as he was given a Batman bracelet and told it would bring him luck.
“We need good luck,” the boy’s father said.
A child named Claire, who suffers from leukemia, was the next to get a gift and a hug from the Caped Crusader. Her mom said Batman’s visit made things just a little easier for her daughter.
Robinson went from one sick child to the next, offering them words of encouragement, a gift and a hug. Many stood wide-eyed at meeting the superhero.
“These visits provide an immediate boost for these kids,” said Jeffrey Dome, the oncology division chief at Children’s.
For Batman, his best reward is simple. It’s when a parent tells him: “This is the first time my son or daughter has smiled in months.”
'Batman' Pulled Over By Police Caught on Tape (Video)
Apr 3, 2012
Lamborghini Batman’s true identity: Lenny B. Robinson, hero to kids with cancer
Mar 29, 2012
Every time we've run stories about Batman getting pulled over in his Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder around Washington, D.C., the questions of the Dark Knight's real identity have only grown more insistent. Today, the Washington Post reveals his true identity: a businessman named Lenny who uses his wealth to entertain children in pediatric cancer wards.
Lenny B. Robinson earned his fortune through starting his own businesses, and puts some of it toward creating as accurate a Batman as possible in suburban Maryland, with a $5,000 Batman costume and $25,000 a year in Batman comics and other goods he hands out on his visits. While the Gallardo Spyder with not-quite-legal Batplates and matching logos throughout might be sufficient for most real-life superheroes, Robinson has plans for an honest-to-Alfred replica of the Tim Burton-era Batmobile. (There are enough already built he could probably buy a nice one used.)
Batman hospitalThese photos come from Hope for Henry, an organization that throws superhero gatherings at D.C.-area children's hospitals to cheer the patients and support their families. He's been doing it for 11 years; his son used to join him dressed as Robin, and the suit is so accurate in its coverage Robinson can lose a few pounds of sweat every appearance:
"Eventually, it sinks in and you become him," Batman told [the Post.] "It feels like I have a responsibility that's beyond a normal person. And that responsibility is to be there for the kids, to be strong for them, and to make them smile as much as I can." He understands that might sound corny, but he doesn't care.
Don't ever let someone tell you superheroes aren't real.
‘Lamborghini Batman’ Unmasked
Mar 29, 2012
The world was first introduced to "Lamborghini Batman" when he was pulled over earlier this week. Now I've finally gotten through to the man behind the mask.
He answered his phone "This is Batman."
But "Lamborghini Batman" isn't the best name for him. Nor is "Route 29 Batman" as the Washington Post calls him. He dresses like Batman not because of some weird cosplay fantasy where he gets to be a superhero. He dresses like Batman so that sick kids can find the superhero in themselves.
Maybe we should just call him "The Awesome Guy Who Dresses Like Batman."
Batman's real name is Lenny Robinson, not Bruce Wayne, and his friends think he's a hero.
What Batman was doing when he was pulled over by the police earlier this week was traveling to an event for hospitalized kids as part of a "Superhero Celebration" organized by the charity "Hope for Henry."
"Lenny is a one-man operation and he is amazing and beautiful because he's also doing this for free," says Allen Goldberg, who founded the organization with his wife after the experience with their son Henry, whose rare illness left him hospitalized for long periods of time (you can read more here about their experience).
"When [Henry] was alive and hospitalized — for months at a time — we had to keep him entertained, so back in 2000 I bought the first ever portable DVD player," says Goldberg. Henry watched a lot of Batman movies and cartoons so, after he passed away, they decided to give the same comfort and hope to kids whose circumstances land them in the hospital for extended stays.
The program's gone from giving portable DVD players to kids to handing out iPads and throwing birthday parties for kids in the hospital on their special days. They even host those "Superhero Celebrations" at various hospitals throughout the year. Most superheroes are paid, but Lenny does it for free.
"He comes across as Batman, he has the kind of gruff voice and he's got the demeanor down and he holds himself erect like Batman," explains Goldberg, adding "And he's got the Lambo, which is pretty sweet, too."
Mike Rosenwald from The Washington Post went with Lenny to one of these events for an excellent profile on Lenny. Here's the most touching scene:
He asked the nurses at the front desk whether there were any children who couldn't come out of their rooms to see him.
Assured that there weren't, Batman headed back down to his Batmobile, followed by the mother of a baby girl with cancer and her healthy 4-year-old son, whose only goal in life at that moment was to see the Batmobile. When the boy saw the car, I thought his eyeballs were going to separate from his body. (Batman is actually in the process of having a just-like-the-movies Batmobile built for $250,000, but it's not ready yet.) Batman revved the engines and blasted the audio system - the Batman theme song. Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Batman! He revved the engine some more. The little boy didn't want to say goodbye, but his mom told him, "Batman needs to go fight the bad guys."
The little boy cried.
"I want to go help him fight the bad guys," he said.
His mom said, "You need to go help your sister fight cancer."
Batman sped away.
I spoke with Lenny earlier this week (on the Batphone, as he called it) and, while obviously amused by the attention, it didn't sound that important to him.
"I don't do it to become famous, I do it for the kids," Lenny told me. "They mean more to me than anything."
And to prove it he had to cut his interview short. The reason? He had to take his niece to dinner.
Lenny isn't just the coolest Lamborghini owner ever. It needs no qualification. He's just cool.
Photos Courtesy Of Allen Goldberg
'Route 29' Batman, Lenny Robinson, Turns Out To Be Real-Life Superhero
Mar 29, 2012
Earlier this week, The Huffington Post reported that Batman had been pulled over -- Batmobile and all -- in Montgomery, Md., for not displaying a proper license plate.
It was discovered that the real plates were inside the car. In their place? The Batman symbol -- naturally.
When videos of this masquerading Batman -- whose real name is Lenny B. Robinson, a businessman from Baltimore County -- first came to light, it seemed that the wealthy gentleman (whose 'Batmobile' is really a black Lamborghini) was simply having a lark.
But now, the Caped Crusader's true intentions have came to the surface. It turns out he's a real hero, after all.
According to the Washington Post, Robinson, 48, has been visiting sick children in hospitals in the Baltimore area since 2001. He dresses up as Batman when he makes his rounds and gives out Batman toys and other goodies to the kids. Sometimes his teenage son, Brandon, tags along as Robin.
Last week, as part of Hope For Henry's annual Superhero Celebrations, Robinson -- alongside Wonder Woman and Spiderman -- was at Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D.C., visiting with children with cancer and other serious illnesses, PR Web reports.
"These visits provide an immediate boost for these kids," Jeffrey Dome, the oncology division chief at Children’s National Medical Center in Northwest Washington, told the Washington Post.. “Some of these children have to stay for weeks or months at a time. That wears down the children and it wears down the family. A visit from a superhero is sort of like a fantasy in the middle of all this hard-core therapy.”
Robinson spends about $25,000 a year of his own money on Batman toys and memorabilia, the UK's Metro reports.
"I’m just doing it for the kids," he said. "It feels like I have a responsibility that’s beyond a normal person. And that responsibility is to be there for the kids, to be strong for them, and to make them smile as much as I can."
Batman gets pulled over by the police for not having a license plate on his Batmobile
Mar 25, 2012
Apparently in Gotham City you don’t need proper tags on your vehicle, as this “Batman” learned when he got pulled over by the police outside of Baltimore, Maryland, which apparently requires it. Lame.
The local superhero, aka Lenny B. Robinson, was on his way to a children’s hospital to bring some happiness, but forgot to make sure that his license plate was affixed to his black Lamborghini. Apparently the caped crusader had a tag with nothing more than the Batman logo on it. The gent had his real plates in the car with him and got himself out of a ticket, according to one of the officers on the scene:
The car was registered, and the man explained that he goes to hospitals and does work with kids (while in costume),’ Capt. Stark explained.
About The Author
Drew Olanoff is The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for online charitable movements. He founded #BlameDrewsCancer. You can follow him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or email email@example.com
The police department even tweeted about it, which confirms this wasn’t a hoax of super proportions:
Luckily, there were other people nearby with camera phones to take shots of the scene.
Why so serious, Maryland?