Like most seven-year-old boys, little Alex Mead is a big superheroes fan – and this week he received a very special visit from Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. The actor had the "absolute privilege" of presenting Alex, who was born with a partially developed right arm, with his very own prosthetic Iron Man arm, and shared a heart-warming video of their encounter on his Facebook page.
Robert was there in character as billionaire inventor Tony Stark, the alter ego of Iron Man. He can be seen shaking little Alex's hand, commenting on his bow tie and asking about his travels, before pulling out two boxes; one with an arm for him and one with an arm for Alex.
Robert had the "absolute privilege" of presenting Alex with his Iron Man arm
The arm was created by Albert Manero, from the University of Central Florida, who builds and donates low-cost limbs to children around the world. It cost just £235 in materials to make, according to Microsoft's The Collective Project, which showcases the work of students making positive changes in their communities. In comparison, traditional false limbs can cost as much as £26,900.
"Half the time, I design one of these and it keeps breaking on me," Robert, in character, tells Alex. "What I do is I keep working on it, like you're working on it with Albert."
"He keeps working and working on it until he gets it right," Alex replies, with a shy smile.
Despite his efforts, Robert is rumbled by the little boy in the clip. Asked at one point if he knows who he is meeting, Alex smiles and says, "Iron Man", but then adds that his name is "Robert", not Tony Stark, much to the actor’s amusement.
"Had the absolute privilege of presenting a brand spanking new 3D-printed bionic Iron Man to Alex, the most dapper 7-year-old I've ever met," Robert wrote in a caption alongside the video. He went on to thank Albert and Limbitless Solution for "their work making artificial limbs like this more affordable for families with kids who want to show the playground how badass they are".