NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was a super surprise Wednesday for a child who has to spend Christmas in the hospital this year.
Batman stopped by St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital in Bayside, Queens, to visit with a very special patient, 5-year-old Anthony Rojas.
Anthony lives at the hospital due to a respiratory illness and the Caped Crusader is his best buddy.
Batman is actually Josh Aryeh, who’s been visiting sick children for more than a decade. He and his fellow volunteers have been incredibly busy.
“We’ve given out a little more than 20,000 toys. I’ve visited a little more than 13,000 children on my own,” Aryeh told CBS2’s Cindy Hsu on Wednesday.
Along with superhero costumes, his friends help out by supplying exotic cars decked out like the Batmobile. He was getting so many requests from children, he started the foundation Smiles Through Cars and said anyone can help spread holiday cheer.
“People say all the time, ‘I don’t have a Ferrari. I don’t have a Lamborghini. I can’t do what you’re doing.’ And I said, no, it starts with just holding a door for someone, saying good morning, giving them a smile,” Aryeh said.
He offered some advice when it comes to treating those going through a difficult time during what is supposed to be the most joyous time of the year.
“Be considerate of others. Try to spread holiday joy to people you don’t know,” Aryeh said. “There’s always someone who can use a pick-me-up. No matter how much you’re struggling, there’s always someone who has it worse than you.”
Little Anthony said he loves just about every superhero, especially Batman, and the reason is simple.
“I love them because they save people,” he said.
Hsu actually Anthony last year when he was being honored by some of his superhero friends in the NYPD. The police took him under their wing and helped him feel like a regular kid with a lot of dreams.
When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, Anthony said, “A policeman, because they protect people.”
His many superhero friends plan to help him get there.