After fighting off cancer, capturing the hearts of a city was a cinch.
Five-year-old Miles Scott – a.k.a. Batkid – lived out his wish of becoming a caped crusader Friday, quashing a crime spree in his pint-size superhero suit as San Francisco became Gotham City. Thousands of volunteers and spectators stopped what they were doing to take part.
People cheered as Miles buzzed by in a Lamborghini Batmobile. News crews gave chase as the boy rescued a damsel tied to cable-car tracks. Social media lit up with cheers.
Even President Obama took a break from defending his health care law to say in a tweeted video, “Way to go, Miles. Way to save Gotham.”
“In a world where we keep hearing about shootings and muggings, to have our city come together like this is unbelievable,” said Jason Dorn, 43, who navigated the thick crowds.
Wilson had originally hoped a few hundred volunteers would support Miles, who lives in Tulelake (Siskiyou County) and is in remission from leukemia. But more than 12,000 signed up.
By the afternoon, the San Francisco offices of the U.S. attorney and the FBI had joined in the theater, indicting the Riddler and the Penguin. Mayor Ed Lee gave Miles a key to the city made of chocolate.
Elisa Haidt, 37, and Amy Jackson, 32, had tears in their eyes. They had worked with Tripit, a travel website and Make-A-Wish partner, to plan a flash mob dance in Union Square to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’. ” They said Miles’ enthusiasm was contagious.
“We were here to cheer on Miles, but Miles also helped us,” Haidt said.
Not everyone felt the love. While city police officials said they handled Friday’s crowds without extra staffing or costs, some thought the event focused too much energy on one child.
City Supervisor Eric Mar said on Instagram, “Waiting for Miles the Batkid & wondering how many 1000s of SF kids living off SNAP/FoodStamps could have been fed from the $ $ .”
But on the streets and on social media, many reveled in what they saw as a feel-good story. On Twitter, people asked the boy to save San Francisco from spiraling rents – or to fix the health care law.
Wilson, the Make-A-Wish official, said Miles – who was 20 months old when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia – was one of many children who lost parts of their childhoods to a “grown-up battle.”
By granting wishes, she said, “We get to restore a little bit of that.”