The Spider-Man of Kalamazoo
With the exact same costume as the comic book super-hero, this Spider-Man slinks his way through the streets and neighborhoods of Kalamazoo.
He does not shoot titanium-strength webs from his wrists.
He does not climb walls.
He does not battle crime.
In fact, he has no super-powers at all.
The Kalamazoo Spider-Man is on a different quest: to bring joy, hope, and happiness to children with autism and other disabilities. It's something he knows about. As a child, he was autistic and got bullied because of it. "It started off as me as a little kid having autism. I know what it's like to be bullied and with an autistic disability, it hurts even more” he told WWMT-TV.
Rather than release the inner anger caused by his schoolyard persecutors, he has used that energy to help other youngsters cope with the same circumstances. What better way to do it than with something close to you? His fondness for the imaginary world of super-heroes brought forth his inner 'Spider-Man'...his own Spider-Man suit followed and he continues his mission.
He visits hospitals to see the children and their response is so rewarding. They hug, smile, laugh, stare in awe, and totally enjoy his visits. He brings little treats and goodies to hand out and reads them stories.
It's not just the kids that benefit from this Spider-Man...adults dig 'im too...and it also helps his own confidence and morale. It's an “everybody wins” situation.
In his everyday identity, he began his hero career as a teen; now in his 20s, he sometimes wonders if he should keep at it or hand over the web-reins to a successor. So far he hasn't...and with all the positivity he has created and spread these last few years, it has been very rewarding.
Of course there are those who are negative toward him, and that's to be expected.....but he has made many kids very happy.
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