Batkid completes San Francisco mission; hero’s welcome planned
Batkid successfully rescued the San Francisco Giants’ mascot, Lou Seal, on Friday, the 5-year-old boy’s final act of bravery before heading to City Hall to a throng of adoring fans.
Everywhere Miles went, crowds of city-dwellers amassed to watch as he and Batman rescued a damsel in distress, foiled the Riddler at a bank, and then responded to a flash mob at Union Square alerting him to his third challenge: rescuing Lou Seal from the clutches of the Penguin at AT&T Park.
In between it all, he also found some time for a bathroom break and lunch.
It’d be a triumph for even the most seasoned superhero, let alone a 5-year-old who’s been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia since he was 20 months old.
As Miles made short work of the Penguin, even the U.S. attorney’s office and FBI got in on the citywide spectacle that had captured the nation’s hearts and minds, particularly on social media.
Melinda Haag, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, and FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson issued a statement Friday announcing formal charges against the Riddler and Penguin, indicting them on multiple counts of conspiracy and kidnapping for their “all too familiar villainous ways in Gotham City.”
According to the indictment, the villains plotted to put an unnamed female in the path of a cable car, rob a bank and kidnap Lou Seal.
“Somehow they thought these latest stunts would go undetected by Batkid,” the indictment read.
Coordinated by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Miles’ escapade was complete with donated Lamborghinis that were turned into Batmobiles, a personal call from Police Chief Greg Suhr asking for help, and a live television broadcast kicking off the adventure.
Miles’ cancer is in remission, and with the last of his chemotherapy in June, “he wanted to be Batman,” Patricia Wilson, the Bay Area Make-A-Wish executive director, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
It was a request many were all too willing to help fulfill, or at least support. Among them was Shaneh Santos, 22, who carpooled with friends from Sacramento. Santos said she stayed up late to make a yellow and black sign that read “We <3 Batkid.”
“It’s moving to be part of something, people driving hours to be part of a special moment for this little boy,” she said. “I have a son too, it hits home that way.”
Nearly 12,000 volunteers and fans, many of them with signs of support, crowded along the route as Miles answered each call. Hundreds of looky-loos climbed trees, sat on shoulders and snapped photos as Batkid ran or rode past.
San Francisco resident Sara Sanchez, who heard about BatKid on Facebook, came decked out with a huge sign that read “SF <3 Batkid.” She said the energy in “Gotham” rivaled the two parades she’s attended celebrating the Giants’ World Series victories.
“Seeing the city come out in support, it makes you really proud to live in a city like this,” she said. “I think that everybody has been touched by cancer, and when it’s a kid, it’s that much more difficult.”
Law enforcement officials weren’t the only constituency urging Miles on. California politicians, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) commended the Batkid’s bravery. Standing on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, Swalwell recorded a personal video message to Batkid, saying he would be flying home to a hopefully safe Bay Area on Friday evening.
“Batkid, Gotham City in California needs help,” he said. “We’re all counting on you, Batkid, to use your superhero powers to protect our city.”
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