TAMPA, Fla. - For a dozen of Tampa Bay's sickest children, something super was about to swoop in.
Eight stories up Thursday, kids from St. Joseph's Children's Hospital -- used to visits from doctor after doctor and nurse after nurse -- got to marvel at their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
In his red-and-blue suit, the superhero rappelled down from the main hospital's roof and smiled as he lowered himself to a ledge right outside a big playroom window.
Smiling back were kids like Nicholas, who just got out of ICU for the first time in days. And Cedric, who grabbed a marker to make a sign -- "GO SPIDERMAN!"
Shelia Keller arranged to have this seemingly ordinary, mild-mannered man with a window washing business show off his secret super power -- the power to help these kids smile.
"It changes the healing environment," said Keller, a manager on the hospital's Environmental Services team. "Being happy, smiling, and laughing is such a healing thing for our families."
Spider-Man wouldn't reveal his true identity to us. He would say he's originally from Connecticut and has been washing windows for 29 years.
"And I've been called Spider-Man for almost 29 years, even before I put the suit on. Just 'cause people see me rappelling down, they're like, 'Wow, that's cool!'" the superhero said.
Spider-Man's Uncle Ben told him, "With great power comes great responsibility."
His power is having the guts to work high on a ledge with a smile so big it practically shows through his suit.
His responsibility, he says, is to honor the real heroes -- the truly brave children, their families, and the people who care for them.
"It's worth it," he said. "They're worth it, seeing their smiles."
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