Before Miles Scott began his mission to clean up a crime-riddled Gotham City, he got a quick visit from someone who just wanted to make sure he was OK: his dad, Nick Scott.
Miles — a Tulelake, Calif., boy with the not-so-secret identity of the now-famed Batkid — was only 5 years old after all, and saving a city from villains like the Penguin and Riddler is no easy feat for anyone, especially a child.
But Miles, a survivor of leukemia who was treated to a day as the Dark Knight by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, had a job to do, and he let his father know.
"He was in the Batmobile with the door open, and I said, 'Miles, you doing OK?' And he told me, 'Shut the door, Dad. We've got to get going. We've got more to save,' " Nick Scott recalled.
"All business," mother Natalie Scott chimed in.
Miles' parents recounted their son's special day during a Tuesday visit to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, where Miles had been receiving chemotherapy treatments for the past three years.
They said watching Miles — now in remission — don his favorite superhero's costume was overwhelming, but a joy.
"He's at the age he really doesn't understand it," Nick Scott said. "Which is good. If he was older I think he'd get more cocky about it. He's just at the perfect age for it, and that's why I think it all came together so well."
The sweep through the faux-Gotham (San Francisco) streets on Nov. 15 came after more than three years of fighting Miles' leukemia.
In April 2010, when he was 18 months old, Miles fell off a stool. While doctors checked him out, they found a lump behind his ear. A series of tests revealed the he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A series of monthly treatments at RRMC began.
Miles handled it maturely, his parents and doctors said. He showed up to many appointments clad in costume or a superhero shirt, ready to go.
"If he wants to come in here and get tested as Batman, then that's OK, Batman will get chemo today," said Michelle Smith, an RRMC nurse who has helped care for Miles during his treatments. "We try to make every day as good as we can."
Despite Miles' bravery, his parents said, it was a difficult period to go through.
"I think one of the hardest things for a parent to deal with is you're helpless, you can't do anything about it. Luckily we've had a great team of people to help him," Nick said. "If your son or daughter's hurting, you want to be able to help them out, take the pain away, but you just, you can't. There's nothing you can do. You just have to sit back and trust in other people, that they know what they're doing. To me, I think that's the hardest thing."
Now the monthly appointments and constant attention to remembering medications has changed. The resulting calm is not one the family is used to, however welcome it may be.
"The alarm still goes off on the weekend to give him his meds and we don't have to," Nick said. "It's different."
The cancer treatments culminated with Miles getting his wish granted — to be Batman, his favorite superhero, for a day.
And then some.
Dressed to the nines in a Caped Crusader get-up, he took to the role immediately. Normally shy, the costume seemed to transform him, his parents say.
"You could really see it that day," Nick said. "Normally he's a shy little boy, and he puts the costume on, and he just puffs his chest out. He's just got this march, where he's just tough. He'll do anything once he puts that costume on."
Miles saved a damsel in distress, followed by a cruise through the San Francisco/Gotham streets in the Batmobile to track down the Riddler and the Penguin.
"We got to pass the red light," Miles said, beaming.
His parents followed in a bus, and watched the city's residents show their support, cheering, holding up signs and snapping pictures. The event made national headlines across the country.
"Everywhere you go, the streets were just lined, and people happy and jumping up and down," Nick said. "To see a 5-year-old change a city, to be happy, is pretty impressive."
Miles' superhero journey ended at AT&T Park where he rescued the San Francisco Giants mascot and raised his arm in triumph in front of the gathered crowd.
"He would stick his arm up and everyone would cheer for him," Natalie said. "Those pictures are pretty awesome. Those are my favorite."
Bay Area residents recognized him the next day, even without the costume. On a cable car ride out to Fisherman's Wharf, an operator cleared a space for the family on the already packed transport.
The heroics will continue. The Scotts and the San Francisco 49ers Foundation set up a fund to benefit other pediatric cancer patients. One-third of every dollar collected will go to Asante, with the remainder going to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon and Southwest Washington and the Make A Wish Foundation Greater Bay Area.
"We've been put in the unique position where we could start a foundation to help other people and to give back," Nick said.
Because of Miles' age, his parents said, he doesn't grasp the impact he's had over the last month. They plan to show Miles video of the event in a few years, when it will resonate more. For now, he's just a little boy who loves superheroes, playing and pretending, healthy and happy.
And ever a fan of Batman. When asked about who would win in an comic book duel between Batman and Superman, Miles' answer is what you'd expect.
"Batman, because he's strong," he said.
OK, but what about a showdown between Miles and the Dark Knight? Miles thinks for a moment on this one, then cracks a small grin before answering.
"Me," he says, "because I'm the strongest."
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.