Holy Helping Hand, Batman!

I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about the ways we help each other.  One Mountain Away, coming in August, explores that question among many others, and it will come up again and again as the series progresses.  Do we give money?  Do we bring casseroles?  Do we hold hands and provide a listening ear?  Do we give someone who needs it a kick in the pants?  Do we intervene in a dangerous situation by alerting authorities who might be able to help?

A man in Baltimore County, Maryland, made the news this week with his own unique twist.  With absolutely no fanfare Lenny B. Robinson, 48, wealthy and self-made, dresses up in a Batman costume, hops in his Lamborghini and visits sick children.  What better job for the Caped Crusader?

Mr. Robinson doesn’t don his cape for publicity.  When the police stopped him recently for having a license plate with the bat symbol instead of the more usual numbers and letters, he got out of his car dressed in full bat regalia and for the first time the world was aware something odd was afoot in Gotham.  But Robinson doesn’t extol his own virtues.  Today’s Washington Post published a front page story about him, written by a family friend with insight and sentiment, but only because bits and pieces of the story were already filtering out after the police encounter.

Picture a cancer ward filled with little children fighting for their lives.  In strides Batman, sweating beneath a specially made mask–he sweats away five or six pounds of water weight at each engagement.  Batman doesn’t come empty-handed, of course.  Robinson spends $25,000 a year on Batman toys and memorabilia, and he gives it–autographed when he can–to every child who needs cheering.  And which of these children wouldn’t?

Imagine the excitement, the hope, the joy that a real live Superhero is there to hold your hand and ask how you’re feeling, when that’s exactly what you need most?  Imagine the healing?

Our world can be unspeakably sad and lonely.  But people like Lenny B. (for Batman?) Robinson remind me that no matter who we are, we can reach out in myriad ways to change it.   

I’ve never been a big fan of Batman, but today I changed my mind.  Thank you, Caped Crusader, and all the other superheroes out there, in whatever disguise you wear, for reminding us that in our own way, we can always make a difference.


  1. Wanda on March 30, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I joined a group about Ten years ago that is dedicated to helping Those going through treatment for cancer, adults, teens, and children.
    “Chemo Angels is a volunteer organization dedicated to adding a ray of sunshine to the lives of those undergoing IV chemo treatment. We believe people going through the physical, emotional and mental rigors of chemotherapy deserve lots of encouragement.”

    • Emilie Richards on March 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm

      Oh, Wanda, good for you. What a great way to help.

  2. Nancy Badertscher on March 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks for posting this story Emilie! Had not heard about it, but what an inspirational story. Thought of you yesterday as we were once again driving through Asheville. On the way now to Ch’ville for hubby to run in the Ch’ville 10-miler tomorrow. Seeing a couple of old friends there, and in Lexington, both towns where we used to live, tomorrow before heading back to Mom’s in East TN late tomorrow night, then back to ATL on Sunday.

    • Emilie Richards on March 30, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      And aren’t you in the SE mountains at exactly the most beautiful time of year? I hope you have a wonderful time and your husband enjoys the race. I’ll be in Ch’ville on Easter day, then Asheville the following week. Can’t wait.

Leave a Comment