Batkid, the story – part four
This story is the fourth in a four part series about the Make-A-Wish event for Batkid in San Francisco.
In the previous part of this Batkid feature, some spectators shared their thoughts on attending the Make-A-Wish event for 5-year-old cancer patient Miles. In this last chapter more spectators and the Mayor of San Francisco share their thoughts.
In the spirit of the event dressed as Catwoman and posing for photos was Renee Collins who volunteers for Make-A-Wish and for various dog groups. Talking about Miles and the thousands coming out to cheer him on, she gets choked up. “It’s a story that touched me, the kid is only 5-years-old and he’s had enough chemicals in him for four years, that’s really sad.“
Standing in Union Square she was wowed by the turnout and proud of San Francisco. “I think it’s outstanding. San Francisco does this really well and they’re not just one group of people here, there is just everyone here enjoying Batkid. We accept everyone and I think that is outstanding. You can see everyone here and they took the time out of their day to come here and celebrate him,” Collins said.
Also in Union Square was Julie Ferriot wearing a Batman shirt and holding a “Batkid you are my hero” sign. With a big smile, she was happy to be showing her support. “We talk about Miles being a true superhero. It’s exciting to play it out to kind of play it out as Batman here in San Francisco and the way the city has embraced this. It’s like nothing that I’ve ever seen. This is phenomenal and really exciting,” Ferriot said.
Ami Arad is the owner of the men’s clothing store Wingtip at 550 Montgomery. His store is in a 105 year old building and was used as the location where Batkid would catch The Riddler breaking into a bank vault. Arad’s store has a bank vault as the building was the home of the first Bank of Italy which later became Bank of America.
Arad explained how it came about having Make-A-Wish use his store. “One of our vendors knows the president of the bay area chapter of Make-A-Wish. She’d been through the store and knew we had a vault downstairs. So when today started to come together she asked if they could use our vault and of course we said yes.”
Asking about the crime Batkid and Batman stopped he said, “The Riddler was down in our vault downstairs behind a bunch of old, original safety deposit boxes and Batkid apprehended him,” Arad said.
Asked if he knew how The Riddler broke in, “we don’t (know). We’re just thankful Batkid was here to stop him from taking our money and diamonds.”
Arad was asked if there was a scuffle between the superheroes and criminal, “I cannot confirm nor deny if there was any violence. I’m sure Batkid did it as mercifully as possible,” he said.
After the two Batmobiles and the dozens of police motorcycles left he was still smiling. “It was awesome, the crowd was way beyond what we ever thought. There must have been thousands of people out here this morning. We’re happy to be a part of it, thrilled,my eyes watered when he came in,” Arad said.
The final venue for Batkid was Civic Center Plaza, across the street from city hall where Mayor Ed Lee would give a speech and give Batkid the key to the city. “On behalf of San Francisco and Gotham City I want to thank the Batkid for saving our city. What would we do without you? The streets of the city are safer because of you,” Mayor Lee said.
During the speech thousands would cheer and interrupt his speech occasionally chanting, “Batkid, Batkid, Batkid.” Mayor Lee continued, “We are truly inspired by what you have done. Today November 15, 2013 will be Batkid Day forever.”
Mayor Lee presented Miles the key to the city of San Francisco and gave Miles the great news that any 5-year-old would love to hear, chocolate. It was announced that TCHO Chocolate in San Francisco would be giving Miles a chocolate key to the city.
Mayor Lee continued his speech peppered with cheers from the Batkid adoring crowd. “We’re living in an extraordinary time in an extraordinary place and we are a city that knows how and we know how to come together to fulfill a wish for a young boy. …While we wish we can extinguish the pain that your family has experienced, we hope this is the day, the magic, that you’ll remember this forever.”
That Friday not only San Francisco and the Bay Area united but also the world. News about Miles’ being Batkid was broadcast around the globe in multiple languages. That day Miles was an international superhero and did the incredible feat of lifting hearts of people around the world.
Update – In a November 20, 2013 tweet by Patricia Wilson, the Executive Director of the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation revised the total estimated attendance for the Batkid event – “BTW, final RSVP for #SFBatKid was 16,077 but crowd estimates were over 20k. Caring and compassion ruled the day. Love you SF.”