Brampton Batman goes public: 'There's no reason to stop'
After years of anonymity, the man who patrols Brampton streets in Batman guise is sharing his story.
At 38, "Brampton Batman" Stephen Lawrence says he was first given the caped crusader moniker in high school. And the nickname "solidified," he says, at the age of 14, when he was hailed as a hero for stopping a would-be thief at a jewelry store in a Markham mall.
Speaking in a low voice that approximates the modern silver screen Batman, Lawrence told CTV's Canada AM that the superhero persona is really him.
"I've always been the Dark Knight. The outfit is literally me, inside-out," he said.
By day, Lawrence works a manufacturing job from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Then at night, dressed in full Batman regalia, Lawrence walks the Brampton streets until 3 a.m., helping people out with good deeds like changing flat tires. But Lawrence is proud to say he's saved a life too, by providing CPR.
Lawrence says the highlight of his nightly patrols, however, comes when smiling fans stop him in the street for a photo.
Besides those moments of recognition, Lawrence say he's been happy to toil in anonymity, but decided to go public after he acquired his very own Batmobile. He recently bought the converted sedan from Orangeville entrepreneur Glenn McCullagh, after friends and colleagues told him about the vehicle spotted driving area streets. Lawrence says when he first heard of the car, he never imagined it could be his one day.
"I thought to myself, as a regular person, I'm never going to attain something like this,” he said in a deadpan staccato. “Life events saw that I had the opportunity. So I sought the Batmobile, I asked if I'd be able to purchase it, and I got the dream come true of a, 'Yes'."
It's hard to keep a low profile behind the wheel of such a conspicuous vehicle, he said, explaining how it spurred him to go public.
Rather than getting pulled over by police worried he's taking the law into his own hands every time he's out for drive, Lawrence says he wanted to make sure they knew who he is.
After all, it’s against the law to take the law into your hands – and that’s what the comic book hero is known for.
"Vigilantism is, of course, against the law,” Lawrence acknowledged, explaining that he wanted police to know who's going to be driving the Batmobile, ”so that I can make it to and from work or anywhere else that I want to go without being pulled over multiple times."
The police continue to pull him over, though -- to take pictures too.
"They'll tell you it's for their children, but at the same time I know it's for them."
While he's keeping his day job, when asked about his future Lawrence says, simply, "There's no reason to stop."