updated 3/1/2007 2:27:58 PM ET 2007-03-01T19:27:58

NEW YORK — In the split second that his mother let go of his hand, 22-month-old Stuart Tito scampered onto a subway train as it pulled away.

"I looked down, he wasn't there," Blanca Amarilis told the Daily News in Wednesday editions. "I said, 'Stuart!' and a man told me he went on the train. It was so fast. I prayed to God to protect my son and let me find him again."

A mysterious Samaritan came to the rescue — returning the toddler to his panicked family.

Stuart dashed onto the subway car as his mother let down her guard for a split second to wipe his baby brother's runny nose.

That was enough time for Stuart's little legs to carry him onto the Manhattan-bound No. 7 just as the doors slammed shut and it pulled away.

Tighter grip
A woman on the train saw it happen. She scooped up Stuart, got off at the next station, double backed and spotted Stuart's anxious-looking father, Victor Tito, 32.

"Is this your son?" she asked.

"Yes!" he responded, enveloping his son in a hug.

It seems that Stuart has yet to learn his lesson.

As the family returned to the same station later in the day, he tried to make another dash for a No. 7 train as it roared in.

This time, his mom's grip remained firm.

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