On Friday, the story of a five year-old boy with leukemia went viral when he was transformed into “BatKid” for the day. Miles Scott had always dreamed on being Batman, and his wish was finally granted on this unforgettable day. The San Francisco Make-A-Wish Foundation made it happen and did not take any shortcuts along the way. Around 9:30 am local time, Miles saw a story on the news asking for BatKid to help “Bring the bad guys to justice.” After suiting up in a custom-made replica Batman uniform, Miles took to the streets for a day that he would never forget. He rode in the “Batmobile”, stopped the Riddler and Penguin, and even rescused the Giant’s mascot. His day was completed by receiving a congratulatory message from the President and a key to the city of San Francisco from the mayor. Even the most cold-hearted of people couldn’t help but be melted by this touching story. Millions of people were captivated by the courage of the young survivor, taking to Twitter to show their admiration. The day has past now, but what can we learn from BatKid and everyone involved in making it happen?
People are Good
Right or wrong, San Francisco has been called the modern day “Sodom and Gomorrah.” For those of you unfamiliar with the bible, this is not a compliment. It is fitting that this remarkable story took place in a city thought by many to be an “evil” city filled with selfish people. The Make-A-Wish foundation asked for support from the community and they responded by showing up by the thousands. Hearts were warmed and tears flowed as the min-masked-man made his magnificent march (alliteration!) through the city. People were even tweeting that they were glad to believe in humanity again. This is the byproduct of a media and culture that generally feasts on negativity. We love seeing celebrities who trainwreck their lives or seeing successful companies or people fall on their faces. Even tragedies like 9/11, Katrina, Boston Bombing, and others, are at times far more captivating than stories of joy, even we don’t like the outcomes of those disasters. Stories like BatKid happen behind the scenes every day, it is just rare for them to go viral . Millions of selfless people dedicate their lives on a daily basis to helping others. We aren’t reminded nearly enough of this fact because negativity is thrown at us constantly. People are good.
The Power of Social Media
Although it seems like 90%+ of social media is mindlessly rambling about sports, politics, jobs, or relationships, it is moments like BatKid’s adventure where social media can really shine. About lunch time, my timeline began to light up with tweets about BatKid. Intrigued, I did a quick Google search and eventually stumbled upon the live feed in San Francisco. Fifteen minutes later, I was completely engrossed in the story and trying to fight back tears. Social media has the ability to share incredible stories like these that would be missed without it. Fifteen years ago, BatKid would have only received national attention if it made the national newspaper or latenight TV talkshows. Now, it only takes a few influential people to take a story viral, sharing inspiring stories like this with the masses. So the next time you are considering deleting your Facebook or Twitter account, remember the BatKid.
The Few Can Impact Many
A few people at the SF Make-A-Wish Foundation were tasked with giving a 5 year-old boy the chance to be Batman for a day. They could have created Gotham on a small scale at their headquarters, dressed up some employees in cheap costumes, and called it a day after an hour of fun for Miles. Instead they dreamed even bigger, turning the entire city of San Francisco into Gotham and asking the community to get involved. There would have been nothing wrong with the simple approach, but millions of people would not have been exposed to this amazing story. Not only did the SF Wake-A-Wish Foundation inspire people, but Miles wrecked the hearts of countless individuals as he stormed through “Gotham” with abounding strength and joy. How many teachers, students, accountants, nurses, moms, and others were impacted by Miles? You think that you have a lot on your plate with work, school, marriage, children, etc., but then you see a child with leukemia running around saving the world? Incredible. Life doesn’t seem quite so scary anymore. Don’t be afraid to better the world. It takes less than you think to impact people. It only takes a spark…