Right place, right time. There’s simply no other way to explain it.
Walter Wilson found himself on the Caltrain tracks at Sunnyvale Avenue in San Jose when he was needed the most.
The car of an elderly woman was stuck on the tracks and in true action movie fashion, a train was barreling towards it.
Wilson had been out that day making a run to the store. He was getting materials for his son’s school project.
On his return trip, he noticed the car sitting on the tracks. Something about it didn’t sit right with him.
He stopped his car and went to check on the driver. He found an elderly woman behind the wheel who was, by his description, confused.
Wilson also saw the lights from the train. Deep within his head something that he heard years before flew to the forefront “Trains move faster than you think.”
That’s when he had a decision to make. Car or driver? It wasn’t even a question.
“When I looked up and saw that train,” he later said, “I thought, ‘Do I have time to get this car off this track? No , I don’t have time. Forget this car. Let’s get this lady to safety.’ ”
With the train a meager 50 feet from the stopped car, Wilson knew there was no time to lose. He helped the woman unbuckle from the car and get clear.
No sooner had they made it to safety then the train plowed into the car, pushing it roughly a hundred feet down and off the tracks.
Wilson told The Mercury News “The train hit that car and it crumbled like a piece of paper.”
Wilson is rightfully being called a hero. Caltrain spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew said, “I think we need more concerned citizens that look out for each other.”
She continued, “I’m grateful that gentleman thought enough to check on the woman. He knew it wasn’t safe for her to stay in her vehicle.
“For me, and as an agency, we appreciate that people are looking out for each other.”
Because of Wilson’s heroic actions, no one was injured and no lives were lost. The car was later removed, and traffic went back to normal within the hour.
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