“Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.”
— The Dark Knight.
Yesterday, the Make-A-Wish Foundation enlisted the help of San Francisco, its Police and Fire Departments, as well as thousands of its inspired citizens to make 5-year-old Miles Scott’s dream come true. For one day, the entire town worked together to turn itself into Gotham so that the young leukaemia patient could become Batman.
The spectacular, heart-warming scene played out over the course of the day, with police cordoning off streets and erecting barricades, actors playing villains and those in need of rescue, and local journalists covering the little guy’s heroics as he saved the day all across the city — President Obama even recorded a message encouraging Batkid and thanking him for all the good work he was doing for the people of Gotham.
For a full account of the day, check it out on BuzzFeed.
This surreal display is a poignant reminder of the special place superheroes hold in our hearts. It wasn’t just Miles who dreamt of being a hero like his beloved Batman, it was every single volunteer who recognized the power in symbols to inspire and embolden the public to good deeds, other-centred interaction, and sacrificial citizenry. It speaks volumes how many of Batman’s storied villains have aimed to destroy Gotham by turning it against itself or helping it implode because they cynically viewed the city and its people (and by extension, all of us) as unworthy of saving. Though he stands as a symbol for the people, Batman’s biggest strength and biggest inspiration often comes from the people he’s sworn to defend. His sincere faith in the goodness of society and that it’s something worth protecting was validated yesterday. San Francisco, its citizens, and all of us who cheered Miles on acted in a way that justified the Dark Knight’s crusade to stick up for us and defend us from the cynics who aim to tear us apart.
“A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.”
— The Dark Knight Rises.