Most Helpful Girls
He's showing sexual interest in you. Stop over thinking it. Men call me "babe" all the time, and they are purely sexually interested in me. It's not as affectionate as "baby", but is still in the same boat. I call my boyfriend baby, because it's cute and it feels right saying it to someone you love. I usually call a guy babe if I have very little feelings in him and only sexual desire. I will, however, call my boyfriend babe sometimes as well, but it's usually during sex or when I'm aroused. I don't know if everyone feels this way, but that's what I can tell as far as emotions when I say the word. But don't over think it, it just means he's showing interest in you, higher than a friend level but lower than a girlfriend level.
It REALLY depends what you're doing when he calls you babe/baby.
Via text, it's possibly just a casual flirtation. He's trying to show some level of endearment that isn't as obvious as sweetie/honey/any other term that may allow you to start over thinking his motives.
Since we're girls, of course, any attempt a guy makes to stop us form over thinking anything they do/say a thing is relatively futile. Sigh.
Just see how it goes when you meet up. Watch his eyes and don't verbally bug him about what he means. His eyes and gestures will tell you everything you need to know.
Bask in the moment and just take it for what it's worth -- a simple term of flirtatious endearment.
Most Helpful Guys
If he didn't calls you 'babe' from the start, it means he doesn't use that word around much and he only uses it when he's become close/interested in someone. It most probably means he likes you in a way. But don't think that it necessarily means he wants to be your boyfriend, if that's what you're wanting it to mean. This guy here explains it pretty well:
Personally, I use the words "babe" and "sweety" as a word of flirtation and attraction.
I use those words rather loosely, and other people are REALLY strict about using those terms.
Seeing he is "sweet and respectful"...he probably means that he truly cares about you. :)