A local hero who dressed up as Batman to bring joy to sick children met a tragic end Sunday when he was struck and killed in a roadside crash after his Batmobile broke down.
Lenny B. Robinson, 51, drove a black Lamborghini with Batman plates and visited children with cancer at hospitals.
Police say Robinson got out of his Batmobile to investigate some engine trouble when another vehicle struck the sports car near Hagerstown, Maryland. The Batmobile then hit Robinson, killing him, the Washington Post reports.
Robinson was known to local hospitals as one of several superhero cosplayers who visited sick children.
"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 in 2012. "Some of these children have to stay for weeks or months at a time. ... A visit from a superhero is sort of like a fantasy in the middle of all this hard-core therapy."
Although Robinson had been catering to sick kids as the Caped Crusader since 2001, he became Internet famous in 2012 when police pulled over his Batmobile in Silver Spring for displaying a Batman insignia instead of a license plate.
Dashboard camera video showed Robinson exit the vehicle in full Batman costume. The traffic stop ended with Robinson producing his plates and posing as cops took photos of him and his car. It became a sensation.
Robinson made his fortune when he sold a commercial cleaning business. Like his comic book counterpart, Bruce Wayne, Robinson was a wealthy eccentric who donned a mask to do good. But instead of "fighting" crime like other infamous "Batmen," Robinson's calling was to help bring a smile to the faces of sick children.
"I'm just doing it for the kids," Robinson told the Washington Post when the paper tagged along during a 2012 hospital visit. "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."