From Tampa to Pittsburgh, Chicago to Memphis, comic superheroes are being spotted all over the country -- and they are fighting grime.
On windows, that is.
In their off-hours, Spider-Man, Captain America, and Batman, to name a few, are washing windows at children's hospitals. Their mission? To bring happiness to the youngest of patients.
"We donned the Spider-Man costumes and we rappelled down the side of the buildings," said Harold Connolly, president of Highrise Window Cleaning of Clearwater, Fla. "We knocked on the glass, waved hello - there were a lot of big smiles."
Connolly organized two superhero window-washing sessions at hospitals in Florida so far this year, and he isn't alone. Images of wide-eyed children in awe of their favorite superheroes washing windows have gone viral online, prompting hospitals and window washing companies nationwide to hop on board.
"Some of these poor kids, they don't get a lot of opportunities for anything fun there," Connolly says. "It cheered them up at least for the moment anyway."
Last week in Chicago, Captain America, Batman, and Spider-Man's mission for the day was surprising children into forgetting that they are in a hospital beds at Lurie Children's Hospital.
Nolan Erickson, 6, has been spending a lot of time in the hospital with his 14-month-old brother Matthew.
Matthew was born with brain cancer and has undergone six surgeries and five rounds of chemotherapy; the family hasn't left his side.
"We have been in the hospital for 11 months out of the 14 that Matthew has been alive," mother Sue Erickson says. "Nolan has spent his last two birthday here. Smiles come few and far between."
But on one day - for Nolan, Matthew and their 2-year-old sister Sophia, there was a break from all the sadness.
The three superheroes, window washers from Corporate Cleaning Services, were fighting grime as they rappelled down from the 23rd floor. The heroes circled all around the building, waving, giving a thumbs up and creating soap designs as they went.
"The superheroes' lines were hanging right in front of our window," Erickson says. "The kids just sat there waiting for 45 minutes to see which one it was. It was Spider-Man. When you see your kids excited and smiling - as a parent it was more and I could ever ask for."