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November 16, 2013

Gotham City Moves West

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The bat signal shines against the orange pillar of the Golden Gate Bridge as Gotham City’s villains traveled west to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting City by the Bay. Thankfully, in the far reaches of Siskiyou County, the message was received, calling forth Batkid from his secret lair in Tulelake. For this pint-size superhero, fighting crime alongside Batman is a dream come true.

The question on everyone’s lips is “Who is the masked Batkid?” The answer is Miles Scott, a kindergartner who has been battling leukemia since he was a year old and is now in remission. The five-year-old surprised everyone at Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area when he said that he wanted to be Batman. Make-A-Wish went to work, but after the event went viral on social-networking sites, the response was overwhelming—really overwhelming. Eleven thousand people responded to the request to turn San Francisco into Gotham City West. 

Batkid arrives in the Batmobile

 

Back to our story. Like the superhero he is, Batkid came to Gotham City by the Bay to rescue its residents from a villainous mob. First, the intrepid Batkid helped rescue a fair damsel trapped on the Hyde Street cable car line with a bomb strapped to her back. The menacing green device was covered in question marks. Who could have done such a thing?

BatkidBut wait. Was that an alarm? A vault was being robbed at the Bank of San Francisco Building. The bomb was just a diversion! Alongside Batman, our super sidekick foiled Gotham’s master of mischief and nabbed the Riddler in the act and then turned the supervillain over to the SFPD.

Batkid then decided to grab lunch, but the crusader of crime had his work cut out for him as the crowd in Union Square shouted that the Gotham Giants’ mascot, Lou Seal, had been kidnapped by the Penguin. Batkid streaked off after the King of Waddle and caught him at AT&T Park, saving Lou Seal.

In gratitude for all of Batkid’s crime fighting, Mayor Ed Lee awarded him with a key to the city and declared November 15th Batkid Day.

Whew! What a day.

Thousands of well-wishers came to make the day special for Miles. Unbeknownst to the super sidekick and the Make-A-Wish foundation, Batkid’s Day in Gotham City West took the WORLD by storm. After arriving from all over the Bay Area, northern and southern California, and even the United Kingdom, the crowd of thousands followed Batkid around the city as he saved the metropolis from Gotham's supervillains.

 

Why did they come? One family from Concord, California, bedecked in Batman T-shirts came because they wanted to support Miles and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They have a cousin who was granted a Princess Wish at Disneyworld, so they know what good work the foundation does. They also just wanted to cheer on the young caped crusader. “This is better than recess --- even better than lunch,” declared a youngster who was, in fact, missing recess and lunch --- not a bad tradeoff. At Union Square, there were tiny Spider-Men, Batmen, a Robin or two, and even Batgirl. Homemade signs declared “We Love You, Batkid," “Keep Calm and Call Batkid” and "Help!" The Gotham City Chronicle proudly declared “Batkid Saves City.”

Only in San Francisco would Batkid and Batman, played by Eric Johnston of Lucas Arts, show up in twin Lamborghinis at their crime fighting destinations. The Penguin, played by Lucas Arts’ software engineer Mike Gutan, squealed off with a trussed up Lou Seal in a Rolls Royce. You’ve got to hand it to Gotham City West: They like to do things in style. 

Someone in the crowd asked, “How can the Make-A-Wish Foundation ever top this?” 

The answer is simple. Make-A-Wish tops Gotham City West every time they create a Princess event at Disneyworld for a girl with cancer, or help a town build a full-size Field of Dreams for one of its sick youngsters, or assist in getting a child a mountain of get-well cards. Each individual wish that Make-A-Wish grants beats every other --- and that’s a good thing. It brings out the best in us. Frankly, I’m proud of my City by the Bay. They showed me a compassionate side that we sometimes forget.

It’s not the mayor, police commissioner, or city supervisors that give us our role models; it’s a 5-year-old kindergartner with an infectious smile that brings out the best in us. Miles has faced more challenges in his short life than most of us can ever imagine or will ever experience. Ask the thousands of people who crowded the streets of San Francisco --- err…I mean, Gotham City by the Bay --- who they look up to? On November 15, 2013, for one special day, the answer was Miles Scott, Batkid.