A group of children who helped out in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy got a special surprise during an advanced 'Iron Man 3' screening on Monday, April 29, when star Robert Downey Jr. showed up to thank them for their hard work.

The 39 kids, members of the New York City Police Athletic League who volunteered to help out in the most affected areas after Hurricane Sandy hit the city, had no idea Tony Stark himself was set to appear.

“I’m from New York and Tony Stark’s from New York, so I guess that means Iron Man’s from New York," Downey said to the crowd.

“I just want to say thank you to the Daily News and the Police Athletic League and all of you folks. I know you’re all here because you’ve been doing something special in the five boroughs, for this great city."

Downey had specifically kept the appearance secret to see the faces of the children, who erupted in applause when he made his entrance. (And you thought he couldn't get more awesome.)

Corey Fitchett, an 18-year-old audience member, said of the experience, "I'm just out of words ... it definitely shows he cares about volunteers and the community."

Afterwards, Downey told the Daily News (which sponsored the screening in conjunction with Disney) that he thought it went well and how much the New York-based event meant to him.

"Coming back here reminds me of my origins," he said, "so it’s thematically concurrent with what Tony Stark’s doing.”

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