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The City Journals

The Habit gives back to heroic employee

Dec 06, 2016 03:26PM ● By Natalie Mollinet

Keenan and wife Rebecka with their children are happy that they have The Habit Burger Grill backing them up. (Rebecka Pearson/ Wife of Keenan Pearson)

By Natalie Mollinet | [email protected]

Moments to become a hero don’t come often, but for Keenan Pearson that moment came on I-80 up Parley’s Summit early in the morning of October 9. 

Pearson works as an assistant manager at The Habit Burger Grill in Sugar House and was on his way home to Coalville when the car in front of him hit black ice and lost control. The car hit the barricade on the left side of the road and bounced back into traffic causing his car to hit the vehicle. Keenen got out of his car and tried to help the first car get out of the road. 

“The driver of the first vehicle had a flashlight,” Jay Telladira, Keenan’s father-in-law said, “so she was trying to signal other vehicles to avoid any further accident while Keenan was trying to see if he could get both vehicles off the road until police arrived.” 

While Pearson was working to get the cars out of the way a third vehicle hit the ice and spun toward the driver of the first vehicle. The driver was stunned but Pearson went into action, pushing the first driver out of the way just as the third vehicle pinned his legs against the first vehicle. 

“Well, all three vehicles had been totaled out,” Telladira said. “The Utah Highway Patrol officer who responded said Keenan was a hero and more than likely saved the life of the first driver.” 

Keenan was sent to the University Of Utah Hospital and after several hours of surgery, doctors said that his right leg would have to be amputated. 

Pearson’s left leg had been broken from the crash and due to swelling, doctors had to replace a vein so blood would be able to reach the foot. Pearson has had six surgeries and more surgeries are scheduled. 

Telladira said, “Keenan is married and has two year old and a 10-month old. His wife Becky stays home with the kids, and it will be a long time before Keenan will be able to return to work.” 

The Habit in Sugar House, where Pearson works, wanted to give back to their heroic employee, so the store used their profits on October 17 to help with expenses for Pearson and his family. Approximately $3,000 was raised between the hours of 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“Having the Habit Burger family behind us was a huge relief,” Keenan’s wife Rebecka said. “I am so glad they found him and vice versa. I definitely believe things happen for a reason, and The Habit was supposed to be in our lives when they did.”  

Many people from the Sugar House area came to support the cause. The Habit Burger employees said it was awesome to help Pearson and his family not only because of his heroic act but because he’s a very giving person. 

“Hearing that he got injured from helping others was not a shock to us,” Telladira said. “Seeing what he has gone through and what lies ahead is eye opening. Keenen doesn’t regret one bit of what happened to him, and if you ask him ‘would you do it again?’ his reply would be, ‘of course I would.’” 

Telladira says Pearson isn’t used to staying in bed and feels like he should be at work.  Rebecka told The Journal that as of November 3, he had to have surgery on his right leg due to an infection and may need to stay longer in the hospital. But despite everything, the Pearson family is relieved to have some help from The Habit. 

“The donations have helped so much,” Rebecka said. “It’s one less thing to worry about while Keenan gets better. We still have a house to live in and we can still buy groceries and equipment for him, not to mention gas to get down and see him.” 

“Hats off to The Habit Burger and Grill,” Telladira said. “Our thanks to all the people who showed up to help out Keenan, and our deepest gratitude to those who have donated to the Go Fund Me account.”