Jay Leno Takes a Wounded Vet for a Joyride – Then Thanks Him with the Surprise of a Lifetime


by Brooke Bosca | Top Right News

Anyone who is a fan of Jay Leno knows how much the man loves cars. Heck, the former Tonight Show host even has a TV show called Jay Leno’s Garage, and it is a sight to behold.

Buy Jay has another passion: showing his appreciation for our country’s veterans, as his dozens of USO trips to Iraq and Afghanistan attest.

Recently Jay got the opportunity to meet Corporal Ethan Laberge on the Today Show:

Laberge had been on foot patrol in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber drove up and detonated himself, seriously injuring Laberge and killing two fellow soldiers who had been standing with him.

Laberge was hit with shrapnel in his legs and arms and also suffered a traumatic brain injury, which has caused him serious memory problems.


Leno sat down with the wounded warrior, and the two quickly discovered they had something in common: their love for automobiles.

Jay said that when he meets many soldiers, most are barely out of their teens and he finds they’re often worlds apart.

But Leno said he and Laberge were quickly able to find common ground in their love of cars, and Leno had just the thing for Laberge: a ride in a 2015 Dodge SRT Hellcat.


When Jay asked Cpl. Laberge if he wanted to take the car out for a ride, he responded, ‘Hell yeah!’

The two men took a hours-long joyride through a whole lot of back roads near Laberge’s Army post, and made a day of it: taking in some of his favorite BBQ, visiting some old haunts, and talking about how Laberge’s has struggled with his injuries, and survivor’s guilt as well.

‘Where I’m sitting now, I don’t know exactly how well I’ll recover,’ Laberge said.

Leno asked if he ever gets discouraged, and while Laberge said he does find himself down every now and then, family and friends help him make it through.

When the two men wound back to the Army post, Leno had one more surprise for the brave soldier.

Laberge gave an instant review of the Hellcat, ‘That was awesome … I wouldn’t mind having one of these.’

‘It’s yours,’ Leno said handing Laberge the keys. ‘America loves you. Thank you buddy. Have a lot of fun. Don’t get any tickets.’

‘I can’t promise that,’ Laberge said with a smile.

We can’t all give a solider a new car. But we can thank them for their service. And perhaps even lend an ear, or shoulder, for a spell. It’s the least we can do for the sacrifice they’ve made, and they will appreciate it your one kind word more than you will ever know.



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