Maryland’s ‘Route 29 Batman’ Revealed To Be a Really Nice Guy
Earlier this week, I wrote about a strange news item in which a man dressed like Batman was pulled over for a traffic violation. This was the third story we've seen about a Batman in the news in recent memory, and in that post, I made a joke about how this Batman was breaking the law instead of helping out in the community. Turns out, I was wrong. As pointed out by one of our commenters and confirmed by the Washington Post, Maryland's "Route 29 Batman" was on his way to the hospital to visit sick children when he was pulled over.Alert ComicsAlliance reader Nezhno spotted the story on Jalopnik -- our preferred source for all Batmobile-related news -- and passed along a piece of information from their story:
"I've got a buddy in the MCPD and he told me this guy's story is actually pretty cool – he's crazy wealthy (off what I don't know), but he apparently goes to hospitals and meets up with sick kids as Batman to brighten their day. The tags were in his backseat because he couldn't get the poor people screws to work on his $800k car. As to why he was still in costume when he got pulled over, the latex suit is apparently not so easy to get in/out of, so he has to do it at home. Unfortunately he did not talk like Christian Bale or reference Commissioner Gordon and the bat signal at any time during the stop." - Anonymous tipster (Jalopnik)
And it turns out that's exactly the case. Route 29 Batman was identified by the Washington Post's Michael S. Rosenwald (who clearly has no concept of how necessary a secret identity is to the effectiveness of a crimefighter) as local businessman Leonard B. Robinson. Robinson has been visiting hospitals in the area for over ten years, dressed as Batman and handing out Batman-themed gifts -- which he autographs, of course -- to kids with cancer and other diseases that keep them in the hospital.
According to the Post article, Robinson eclipses even my own Batman budget by spending over $25,000 on Caped Cruasder-related items every year paying out of his own pocket for all the toys, t-shirts and books that he gives away to kids. But for the hospitals in his area, it's worth it:
"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 for the Lamborghini, which of course features Bat-symbol floormats, the police in Maryland can relax.
It might not have the license plates attached, but that car's just a temporary measure anyway. Robinson's in the process of having his own custom movie-accurate Batmobile built, and I'm sure he'll get the tags on that one.
Even if he doesn't, though, a minor traffic violation is a small price to pay for another reminder of how important and inspiring super-heroes can be here in the real world. For more photos of Robinson, check out the Post's gallery.