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Batman is real, and he’s saving children in Florida

How an EMT in Florida is bringing the magic of Batman to children in need.

Batman of Spring Hill
Image credit: Popverse

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Batman of Spring Hill
Image credit: Popverse

When a little boy named Mason needed a superhero, Batman showed up to save him.

This isn’t a reference to a comic book or cartoon. This is something that happened in real life. The Dark Knight rescued my friend’s 4-year-old son, an act that helped me heal my own broken heart.

On July 15, 2019, I sat in a hospital waiting room eagerly awaiting word that my friend Noelle Sherman had given birth. After a long morning of waiting, we received word that her baby son Mason had entered the world. It was a joyous day I’ll never forget.

On April 23, 2024 I sat in a hospital waiting room again, but this time it was for a tragic reason. My friend Noelle had been in a car crash, and I was waiting to hear if the doctors would be able save her life. They couldn’t. Mason was 4 years old, and now he would be growing up without his mother.

Batman of Spring Hill
Image credit: Popverse

Two days later, I sat with Mason as his family was taking care of Noelle’s final arrangements. “Can we go see Mommy,” he asked me with a smile on his face. Looking into his innocent and happy eyes as he asked that question was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. How do you tell a 4-year-old that they will never see their mother again?

I wanted to help Mason. I couldn’t give him his mother, but maybe there was something I could do to bring some joy to his life.

Then I came across the Batman of Spring Hill. There are a ton of Batman cosplayers across the globe, but the Batman of Spring Hill is different. This Caped Crusader does personal visits to children in need, helping them through difficult times.

Behind the mask, the Batman of Spring Hill is an EMT named Jack Asbury. His career as Batman began in 2016. Speaking with Popverse in a phone interview, Asbury recounted how he was working as a bouncer at a bar. He came across a couple who were looking to do a bike run for their young son. “I have this batsuit. I can come make a visit to him and just say hi and bring him some stuff,” Asbury offered. “Ever since then, after posting it on social media, I’ve had more requests, and it just grew into this larger thing.”

Batman of Spring Hill
Image credit: Popverse

This larger thing involves regular visits to children in need. Sometimes this involves walking kids to school or traveling to hospitals to visit terminally ill kids. A friend had turned me onto Asbury’s Facebook page years earlier. His visits with children had been on my feed, and they always brought a smile to my face.

I reached out to Asbury and told him Mason’s story. “Sounds like this is someone who needs a superhero,” Asbury answered. He offered to give Mason a personal visit.

Weeks later, Asbury met us at the Lucky Town Farm in Brooksville, Florida. He exited his car in his full Batman costume, and Mason was immediately awestruck. He knelt down and spoke with Mason about what it means to help people. He gifted Mason a replica Batman utility belt, complete with batarangs and grapple gun. This was something from Asbury’s own personal collection.

He and Mason practiced throwing the batarang. As their training session continued, Mason became overwhelmed with emotion and hugged Batman tightly. “I’m always here if you need me,” Batman said as he cradled the boy in his arms.

Batman of Spring Hill
Image credit: Popverse

This wasn’t an empty promise. During our phone interview, Asbury said that he keeps in contact with many of the kids he’s visited. “I will reach out every now and then. The families like to keep in contact too, because I tell the kids all the time, ‘I’m friends with your mom. I’m friends with your dad, so if you ever need me, just let your family know,” Asbury said.

Asbury does not charge any money for his appearances. In most cases, he travels on his own dime. Although he’s based in Spring Hill, Florida, he’s been contacted by families or hospitals out of state on some occasions. When he’s able to, Asbury has traveled out of state to visit those kids. Any money that Asbury makes on social media goes towards travel expenses or buying gifts for the kids.

In 2020 Asbury started a non-profit organization called Masked Miracles. The group helps families with young children in the hospital. “These families are in the hospital for weeks or months at a time. Bills are still due. They don’t really care if your kid is sick or not. We give money to families that have kids in the hospital for long term. This way they can spend time with their kid, and not have to worry about picking up shifts.”

Bruce Wayne has the Justice League, and Jack Asbury has Masked Miracles. Not everybody’s favorite hero is Batman, so Asbury has recruited other cosplayers. Masked Miracles has a Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Darth Vader on call. Even Asbury’s wife has joined in, cosplaying as Wonder Woman.

Batman of Spring Hill
Image credit: Popverse

After Asbury’s visit, Batman was the only thing Mason could talk about for the rest of the day. He clutched onto his grapple gun, which he didn’t put down for the rest of the weekend. He told everyone about how Batman was his friend, and Batman had come to give him “Batman stuff.” Asbury had brightened Mason’s day during the darkest period of his life.

Asbury was Mason’s hero, and he was also mine. Noelle’s death had emotionally shattered me, but seeing Batman lift Mason’s spirits went a long way to heal my heart. In fact, it was the greatest Batman moment I had ever experienced. To put that statement into context, I’ve interviewed countless Batman actors and comic creators. I’ve gone to afterparties with the cast of a Batman television show. I’ve written content that has wound up on DC’s official website, comics library app, and the special features section of their DVDs. This experience beat all of those by far.

In my opinion Jack Asbury is a better Batman than Bruce Wayne. Remember, Bruce Wayne is a billionaire with plenty of resources and a personal butler. Asbury is a paramedic working 24-hour shifts, and instead of spending his free time resting, he spends it helping children as Batman. Plus, he puts his own money into getting personal gifts for the children in his life, and his piggybank is much smaller than Bruce’s.

But Bruce Wayne isn’t real. Do you know what is real? The difference Asbury makes in the lives of the kids he visits. Their joy is real. Those smiles are real. The way he heals them is real.

Like I said, Bruce Wayne isn’t real. But Batman is, and his name is Jack Asbury.

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Joshua Lapin-Bertone avatar
Joshua Lapin-Bertone: Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.
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