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 behind 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 for speeding 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. He signs every book, hat, T-shirt and backpack he hands out — Batman.
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.
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(Image credit: Allen Goldberg)