Landen Parker Hickmon was born on October 26, 1997. He was a very beautiful baby. He was loud and let you know when he needed something. He was independent, determined and charming, even as a little boy. He made friends easily and always rooted for the underdog.
He enjoyed playing football and watching his favorite NFL team play, the Carolina Panthers. He was passionate about writing and often wrote inspirational quotes. One of his favorites was, “No regrets, just love.” He loved fast cars, especially Ford Mustangs. He liked to cook, expressing that joy through his job at Taco Time. He liked hanging out with his numerous friends and family, especially his two brothers and two sisters. He loved music, everything from Bob Marley to Wiz Khalifa. He was known and loved (sometimes envied!) for his thick, dark hair and his long eyelashes.
Landen had things figured out and wanted to do things on his own. He’d argue for days trying to get you to see his point of view. He didn’t like to be told what to do or how to do it. He thought he’d make a great lawyer because of these traits.
On October 19, 2015, he was driving home from work. He was on his motorized scooter and wasn’t wearing a helmet. I was getting ready for bed when my cell phone rang. It was Landen calling. My immediate thought was, “It is 11:30 at night . . . he must be in trouble!” I answered the phone and it was a police officer asking if I was Landen’s mom. I thought to myself, “Oh dear, what did he do?” I didn’t expect the officer to say that Landen had been in a crash and that he was in pretty bad shape. He told me to get to the hospital. So many thoughts were going through my mind as I was driving there . . . What happened? Was he going to be okay? Would he be confined to a wheelchair?
When I arrived at the hospital, Landen had already passed away. I couldn’t believe it. My beautiful boy was gone. I expected to go into the room and see his body torn apart, but it wasn’t. He was on the bed looking as perfect and beautiful as he did the day he was born. How could he still look that way and no longer be living? It was incomprehensible to me.
Landen was driving straight, heading northbound on 5600 West in Kearns. The other driver was driving south on the same road. She made a left hand turn and ran into Landen. He was thrown from his scooter, suffering blunt force trauma to his chest and other injuries throughout his body.
Several people stopped at the scene, staying with Landen and covering him with a blanket. A girl who was a nursing assistant stopped and took his vital signs until emergency personnel arrived. Knowing Landen was not alone in his final moments is comforting to me.
That night changed our lives forever. We won’t get to see Landen go to college, get married or have children. We didn’t get to see him graduate from high school. We don’t get to hug him, hear him laugh, see his beautiful smile or even argue with him. The pain, tears and loss may lessen, but they will never fully be gone. Every day is difficult. We are grateful Landen chose to be an organ donor. Because of his donation, someone else will have sight.
Drivers, please focus on one thing—DRIVING YOUR VEHICLE! Don’t drive distracted. Put down your phone. Don’t drive sleepy. Focus on the road. Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is a lot of responsibility that affects other people, NOT JUST YOU!
“No regrets, just love.”