A Five-Year-Old Becomes Batman And Reminds Everyone The World Isn’t Totally Awful

By Joelle Renstrom | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

BatkidSometimes stories bring me to tears and fill me with sadness about the direction of humanity. But sometimes, these stories elicit tears because they give you a reason to hope. Obviously, people can be assholes, so can governments, and corporations. But when people get together in the name of compassion and sheer awesomeness, it can restore your faith—at least a little, at least for today.

Miles is a five-year-old boy who has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia for over three years. In June, he finished chemotherapy and doctors confirmed that his cancer is in remission. He made a wish to be a hero—specifically, he wanted to be Batman. Who out there hasn’t made that same wish at one time or another?

BatkidThe Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation listened. And they listened good. They put out the word, asking people to help transform San Francisco into Gotham City to set the stage for a rescue. The story caught on via social media and volunteers poured in. Whether it was by offering to be a damsel in distress or just a grateful and amazed onlooker, thousands of people helped set the stage for Batman’s triumphs over the Riddler and the Penguin at various locations throughout the city. The Police Chief played the part of Commission Gordon, and even the mayor joined in, giving Batman…er, Miles, the key to the city. Watch this video. If you’re not a blubbering fool by the end, well, then something’s wrong with you

There’s an episode of Buffy called “The Prom” in which Buffy is, for the first and only time, acknowledged by her classmates for having saved their lives countless times over the past few years. The scene kills me every single time I watch it, and this Batkid scenario reminds me of an exchange from that episode:

Giles: I had no idea that children en masse could be gracious.
Buffy: Every now and then, people surprise you.

And how. Batkid has become an instant celebrity. Last night and this morning my Twitter stream and Facebook wall overflowed with people sharing photos and virtually squealing over the indescribable awesomeness of this city-wide effort to make a kid’s dream come true. After a while, officials had to send away volunteers—it was clear that everyone knew how important it was to pull this off, not just for Miles, and not just for San Francisco, but for humanity in general. And everyone wanted to be a part of something greater than themselves.

I imagine that Miles woke up feeling like a million bucks this morning, and I hope everyone else in San Francisco did too. He’ll remember this for the rest of his life, as will everyone else who played some part in it. It reminds us how good it feels to do good, which is something all too easily forgotten. It reminds us that people can indeed surprise us. And more importantly, we can surprise ourselves.

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