‘Bat Kid’ gets his dream day as SF transforms into Gotham City
City morphs into fantasy wonderland to honour cancer survivor (5)
Five-year-old cancer survivor Miles Scott, aka Bat Kid, after a ceremony arranged by the Make- A-Wish Foundation in San Francisco, California. Photograph: Stephen Lam/Reuters
Holy Hotcakes! They went thataway! Batman and Batkid on the trail of the bad guys in San Francisco. Photograph: Robert Galbraith/Reuters
The Riddler is taken away by a San Francisco Police officer after being apprehended by Bat Kid and Batman. And Gotham City is a safer place today as a result. Photograph: Stephen Lam/Reuters
Fans of the five-year-old crime fighting hero Bat Kid line the streets of San Francisco. Photograph: Stephen Lam/Reuters
‘Bat Kid’ Miles Scott receives a key to the city from Mayor Ed Lee during a ceremony at San Francisco City Hall. Photograph: Robert Galbraith/Reuters
San Francisco morphed into a Gotham City wonderland, where caped crusaders fought mischievous villains aboard cable cars and on sidewalks, for a little boy who celebrated his win against cancer by becoming “Bat Kid” for a day.
Miles Scott (5) was cheered on by thousands of fans as he whizzed around the city yesterday with his crime-solving partner Batman - rescuing a damsel in distress from a train track, arresting comic book foe the Riddler at a bank and chasing the Penguin through a ballpark - in a Make a Wish Foundation project.
President Barack Obama got in on the caped crusade, releasing a short video on the website Vine to say “Way to go Miles, way to save Gotham.”
Video: Holy crimefighting! Bat Kid to the rescue!
The nonprofit Make a Wish foundation worked with the city of San Francisco to stage the event for Miles, who has battled leukaemia since he was a year old. His cancer went into remission in June.
“This is closure for us,” his father, Nick Scott, told supporters. He added that it has “been a long three years” for the boy and his family.
After his day of heroism, Miles was greeted by a cheering crowd of people outside City Hall, where he received a key to the city from Mayor Ed Lee. The boy is from the small California town of Tulelake, which is on the border with Oregon.
“Bat Kid, you won our hearts with your courage and your story,” Mr Lee told a bashful Miles, who remained quiet, but smiled and wore a mask and cape during the ceremony. “The streets are much safer because of you.”
The US Department of Justice put out a fake criminal indictment against the Riddler and the Penguin that credited Miles for his “heroic actions.” It said the two villains would serve at least 24 years in prison and ironically said “good luck with that” to any attempt they might make to appeal.
“Because even if you get out of jail someday, you will never succeed in your criminal actions as long as Miles, aka ‘Batman,’ aka ‘Batkid’ is looking out for the citizens of Gotham,” the mock indictment said.
The San Francisco Chronicle put out a special “Gotham City Chronicle” edition with a front page article about Miles’ exploits written by Clark Kent, the alter ego of Superman.
“The whole city has focused on making this wish happen,” said Make a Wish spokeswoman Jen Wilson. “It has taken all of us by surprise.”
The production, which involved recreating comic book action scenes in some of the city’s busiest places, including Union Square and the AT&T Ballpark, used dozens of performers, production staff and hundreds of props.
Ms Wilson said the organisation initially hoped to have a couple of hundred people volunteer to be a part of the awards ceremony crowd. By Thursday night, over 12,000 people had RSVP’d through the organisation’s website.
Kelly Bermudes, a 23-year-old San Francisco State University student who heard about the event on Facebook, joined the crowd in her Batman logo T-shirt. “I actually cried when I read about it,” she said. “I found it really touching that a whole city would do something like this for a child.”
The Make a Wish Foundation grants requests, ranging from Disney World family trips to royal-themed Sweet 16 bashes, to children between the ages of two-and-a-half and 18 with life-threatening illnesses.
Make a Wish raises funds through donations from individuals and corporations and partners with businesses, governments and other organisations to fund wishes.
The Phoenix-based organisation was founded in 1980 and has chapters across the world, including Ireland. It has granted more than 226,000 wishes for children since its inception.