CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Maryland man who dedicated his life to giving children the chance to meet Batman died Sunday night while traveling home from South Charleston’s Summerfest.
Lenny B. Robinson, 51, of Baltimore, died around 10:30 p.m. Sunday night when his “Batmobile” was struck after breaking down along Interstate 70 in Hagerstown, Maryland, The Washington Post reports. Robinson, a professional Batman impersonator, traveled the country visiting children in pediatric hospitals.
Sharen Sumpter Dietz, a member of the South Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau board, got a call with the tragic news from a friend Monday morning. Dietz knew the man behind the mask better than most — she accompanied him to his various appearances in 2013 and this past weekend, including a visit to Charleston Area Medical Center’s Women and Children’s Hospital and local day cares.
Dietz said Robinson just wanted to make the children he met feel better about themselves.
“He would talk with them if they said they were having a problem of any kind,” Dietz said. “There was a little boy he talked to at length because he had had a tragedy in his family recently and he wanted to tell Batman about it. He spent quite a bit time with him Friday evening, and on Saturday he wanted to talk to him again, so he spent more time with him one-on-one on Saturday. He was just a great person, and he wanted everyone to feel good about themselves, particularly the children.”
The Post reports Robinson had stopped at a gas station near Hagerstown Sunday night just before the accident. His Batmobile piqued the interest of children who were there with their family, so he gave them some superhero gifts before driving off.
The same family watched in horror moments later as Robinson pulled his Batmobile to the left shoulder of Interstate 70 and was struck by a Toyota Camry while he was working on the car’s engine…