‘Baby Bee’ balloon flies again after being stolen, recovered

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An iconic family trio reunited in the skies on Day 7 of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Joelly the Baby Bee reunited with Joey and Lilly, a day after the trio had to fly as a duo. Joelly was stolen from a hotel parking lot early Thursday morning before the first Special Shape Rodeo.

Thankfully, the truck and trailer carrying the Joelly balloon were recovered later that morning in northwest Albuquerque.

“Within a time period, we went through every emotion in the world and some because of other things that happened,” said Michael Glen, pilot of the Joelly balloon. “Just all kinds of craziness, but in the end, it all worked out OK.”

Glen was relieved. The Joelly balloon basket was designed so Glen could still fly, even after an accident left him paralyzed.

“Spectators get to see somebody achieving their dreams and to see a guy in a wheelchair still be able to fly a balloon is a really cool experience, to show them that they could achieve anything no matter what happens,” Michael said.

As the green flag flew Friday and balloons lifted off, Joelly and Michael were back together where they belong.