Usually when one sees white, web-like cables descending the side of a building and there’s a red and blue clad hero at the end of them, they instantly think, “Spider-Man was here.” Well, that’s not entirely off the money.
Spider-Man may live in New York, but he and a bunch of fellow superheroes from his native Marvel as well as DC universe came to perform a smaller, yet very important, super task at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA in Westwood.
On Tuesday at 10 am, several patients, their parents, volunteers, and nurses of the hospital (some of whom were dressed up as well) gathered on the fifth- floor terrace to watch the window washers do their job, all of whom were in superhero garb.
Kellye Carroll, the director of the Chase Child Life Program at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, clad in a Batman T-shirt, was excited about the third annual Superhero Day at UCLA.
“They get the costumes, it’s their staff, these guys are actually window washers by day, and for this one day a year, they put on the superhero costumes and come out,” Carroll said. “It allows our kids to feel like they’re not in the hospital. They’re in here for long periods of time. They can be in here for days and weeks and months on end – his gives them the opportunity to forget about the medicines, doctors, and the treatments, and just be a kid.”
After the heroes finished their job on the northern wall, they came out to have a meet and greet with the kids, dripping with sweat.
The costumes of Spider-Man, Batman, The Hulk, Captain America had poor ventilation, with Wonder Woman’s breathable outfit saving her from the oppressive pre-noon sun that broke through the clouds right as the event started.
Marcus Gallo, the portrayer of Marvel character The Hulk in the “Grime Fighters” as they’re called, was on his first day of work when he was asked to don the costume and get into character.
The kids loved it when he got angry, pounding his chest.
“It’s great to take a day off of work, dress up as Hulk, and put smiles on these kids faces,” Gallo said. “There’s nothing more rewarding for me. You can’t do this all the time, you’d get heat stroke!
“I have two kids, and I appreciate what these parents go through, the difficulties that the kids have, it’s great that I’m able to do this,” he said as he wiped the back of his neck.
Upon further conversing, it was revealed that this was Gallo’s first day on the job, and he actually had to volunteer to dress up as the Hulk in order to take the job.
“What people do for work!” he joked, futilely wiping his brow before heading inside to air out. Gallo enjoys his job and what he does for the kids. The kids seemed to enjoy the meet and greet, ooh-ing and ahh-ing as the heroes shined up the windows, and even more mesmerized at the fact that they got to meet and take pictures with their idols.
For more information visit www.uclahealth.org/Mattel/Pages/about-mattel-childrens-hospital-ucla.aspx.