July 9, 1927
“No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away…”
— Paul Simon
Two women, one of them the mother of an infant and the other her traveling companion, stepped off of a Southern Pacific coach this morning at Central Station and set into motion a chain of events which culminated in a dramatic chase involving an airplane and a speeding train.
The mother decided to leave her peacefully slumbering tot unattended in the berth while she and her friend went into the station to stretch their legs. When the women returned they found that the train had departed without them!
The panicked women scurried to the taxi stand, hailed a cab and directed the driver to take them to the Glendale Airport where they hoped to find famed stunt pilot Roy Wilson. They quickly located the aviator and the sobbing mother made a plea for help. Persuaded by the mother’s tears, Wilson hopped into one of his planes and with his two female passengers rocketed north in a desperate attempt to catch the speeding train.
Straight out of a Hollywood movie, the ensuing frantic airborne chase rivaled anything that Wilson had performed in “Wings”. Following the Southern Pacific tracks the daring aeronaut was able to overtake the train as it sped north through Saugus. Flying low alongside the engine Wilson signaled to the engineer to stop. In a burst of speed the pilot then flew ahead and skillfully landed the aircraft near the tracks. Once aboard the train the anxious mother found her baby exactly as she had left him – sound asleep.