The Batkid phenomenon is amazing and inspiring on so many levels. I have a friend who wants to touch the lives of kids with cancer through a comic book she created about cancer-fighting superheroes and the heroic children that give him strength. Her comic book is called Nistar, and was launched recently. I donated to her Indiegogo campaign, and naturally felt fulfilled after doing so.
The story of Miles Scott takes my friend’s vision and projects it onto an entire city and into real time. Scott is Batkid’s alter ego, a five year old boy recovering from leukemia. As almost everyone knows by now, the city of San Francisco was converted into a de facto Gotham City by the Make-A-Wish-Foundation. Scott aka Batkid generated a huge outpouring of support during his day of heroism, costumed and zooming in his Batmobile to foil crime by the likes of the Riddler and the Penguin. The adventure was capped with Batkid being presented with the key to Gotham by grateful city officials.
A sidebar to this endearing story is that a crowd of 20,000 people were in attendance. The Batkid hashtag was the one of the more popular on Twitter. Unprecedented donations poured into Make-A-Wish-Foundation. The city of San Francisco enjoyed a giant spike in popularity and likeability, and so didn’t think twice about covering the $105K price tag. The family is starting up a Batkid Fund further capitalize on the vast goodwill generated by the event.
In other words, Batkid is a blueprint that charitable causes and even civic authorities will be studying very closely. Some US cities – like Detroit and Chicago to name just two – are in dire need of good publicity. It wouldn’t surprise me to see similar larger than life charitable spectacles held, especially, in other international cities, colored by the same mix of caring and common sense focus on public image. The idea that an entire city can mobilize to make a single child’s dream come true is extremely powerful and uplifting. Who wouldn’t want to live in a city like that, Bat Signal or not?