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.
SAssured 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