Family honors late son by hiding toy cars around the world
Lehi, Utah —
(KUTV) A Lehi family continues to honor their son, who passed away in a tragic accident, by hiding Hot Wheels Cars.
It started as a community effort to remember the boy who passed away in July 2012; but now hidden Hot Wheels cars are popping up all over the globe.
They are called Carson Courage Cars, and each car spreads the enthusiasm and joy that Carson Cheney brought to everyone he met.
Carson's life was taken, when a large 100-year-old headstone fell on him while his family was visiting the Glenwood Historic Cemetery in Park City.
"It was beyond traumatic -- a super dark time of my life," Cason's mother Hilary Cheney said. "That first year was extremely difficult , experiencing life without him. We wanted to find something to honor him, a way to create happiness in others."
Carson, who was four, loved cars. His family said he always had a toy car in his hand.
"He was holding a Hot Wheels car when he passed away," Hilary Cheney said. "I felt strongly that we needed to continue to share Carson's light with these toy cars."
The idea took off -- spread from coast-to-coast and even worldwide.
Germany, Honduras, Brazil, Japan and Mongolia are on the short list of where these Carson Courage Cars are being found.
Cars are hidden with a label attached that reads, "Finders Keepers. Please Enjoy this Gift in Honor of Carson Cheney." Finders can post a picture on the Carson Courage Cars Facebook page to share where the car was discovered.
A recent post from a man in Japan said, "Been traveling for years, and this is the most heart-melting thing I've ever encountered. Bless Carson and thank you for turning such an unfortunate event into something so beautiful and full of love."
July 31 is Carson's Birthday. He would have been 8-years-old. Dozens of children hid Carson Courage Cars at local parks.
"I like hiding these cars because it makes other people happy," 5-year-old Jacey Steadman said as she placed the car on the playground slide.
"Carson was a sweet little boy who loved to make everyone laugh and smile," Jacey's mom - Tasha Steadman told 2News. "We take Carson Courage Cars with us on all our vacations, so we can hide them. I feel like I get to know Carson better each time we hide a car."
More than 15,000 cars have been placed around the world. That's a number, Zac and Hilary Cheney never imagined when they hid their first Carson Courage Car.
"We all need courage. I have needed courage and strength during these past three years," Hilary Cheney said. "Carson is helping others focus on the special, often small, moments in life; to remind us to have joy in the journey. And to also put the most important things, like family, first."
Family members said Carson lived with courage and zest. Carson learned to ride a bike, with no-training wheels, shortly before his third birthday.
"I was chasing him; I had to put my running shoes on," Hilary Cheney said. "He started riding around neighborhood ... and just wouldn't stop."
Family and friends said the joy Carson spreads through these cars won't stop either.
"It's a great way to brighten someone's day, to make them feel special and loved," Hilary Cheney said. "Carson is making a positive impact, and I am proud of my little boy."
To get involved and hide your own Carson Courage Car, go to the family's Facebook page: Carson Courage Cars. You can find the labels to attach to your Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars in the photo section. Participants can save the image, print it off and have fun hiding. The label explains what the cars are all about and how to share your findings online.