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.


  • Scooter Tramp


  • Bernie Mraz

    Jay Leno gets it!! My hat off to him and that courageous Vet.

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  • jana

    FANTASTIC JAY! Miss you lots! I see stupid people every day who should be on Jay – Walking. Anyway, you are so great to soldiers, it tears me up.

  • Steve Di Sano

    Jay ,,,Your the MAN

  • Timothy Thompson

    Leno is so cool!

  • Bryant Hill

    I have always thought that Leno was a class act.
    Thanks to the young soldier for his service to our country.

  • Mary Webb

    Thank you Mr Leno, you did what we all wish we could do! God Bless our troops!

    • Robbie Pate

      I second that Mary. I have 3 family members who served in the military. I am deeply great full for them and the rest of our military personnel for what they do. Kudos to Jay Leno and Cpl. Laberge.

  • Joseph Price

    I wish I could thank Jay in person for doing something so wonderful for one of us. Perhaps there is still hope for America yet.

  • Gregory Johnson

    What about all the others Jay? What you did was absolutely just for your benefit! What you should have done was donate the value of the car to a charity where many would benefit, not just one. Massive FAIL Jay! And you should have done it anonymously, but that way you wouldn’t have gotten the free press would you?

    • Jason

      Right, because Jay Leno giving a car to a vet he became friends with is such a fail. Do you honestly think that Jay Leno giving a car quietly would really go unnoticed? I’m willing to bet you’ve never donated time and/or monetary gifts to said charities. Funny how there’s always one sore loser who can’t just be happy for someone else. Lastly and for the record, Jay Leno does give monetarily to many of these charities, but then again, maybe it was too anonymous for you.

    • Randy Cullinan

      Gregory, if you are disabled, I am sorry you did not get your share. If you are not, shut the hell up. Jay does not need your approval or mine as the world knows what kind of man he is. instead of each wounded vet getting $.67 he made a difference to one that he got to spend some personal time with.

    • Judy Wallace

      and do you feed the entire town that you live in rather than JUST your own friends and family? and why does Leno need or want press? He’ll never need anyone’s approval ever again. HE DOESN’T NEED PRESS. and, if he gets to feel good about himself for this, why do you care? Why do you need to put it down and make it less? YOU have a problem, my friend. !

    • Gordon

      What a loser.

    • LVR

      Do you have any idea what Jay donates to ALL Vets anonymously? Of course you don’t, it is anonymous, fool.

    • Death ToTruthers

      What a ridiculous comment, Gregory. Just sick. You’ve got a lot to learn about what it means to be a human being. Jay Leno could teach you a thing or two about that.

    • Richard Sprowl

      Your parents were monumental failures, they let you live

    • don2rivers

      Hey Greg, please pay close attention to this ! YOU ARE A JERK OFF!!!

  • Evy Rosebrook

    Class act. Thank you Jay for making just one young man feel appreciated.

  • edward nielsen

    two class act there GOD LOVE THEM BOTH

  • Davis McCollum

    You the man Jay…. But you LaBarge are THE MAN…!

  • Tomcat58@gmail.com

    Thanks Jay for giving back to a vet !

  • tedsteiner68@yahoo.com

    Meanwhile the commander in chief gives him the cold shoulder, and his minions give him the finger.

  • Carol Marie

    good show, jay

  • James Henry Jr

    Thank you Jay. What a great American– this will not be in the socialist press

  • Monguma

    What a great thing to do.

  • George Patrick Shiflett

    See you at the rock store Jay , bring something totally out outrageous again like the jet bike , only wilder

  • FlCracker2

    Nice job Jay!

  • Charles Macminn

    Thank you Cpl Laberge. Good job Jay.

  • don

    Jay Leno is a aawsome individual, puts “His” money on the line….Cpl. Laberge, Thank You and have a great time

  • Joe Torres

    I really wish I could give away cars to ALL VETS. Touched my heart.

  • Cheryl Fairbanks

    glad the vet got a car that’s awesome

  • Ov Mayor

    Haters are everywhere, what Jay Leno did for this young vet was an act of kindness, he didn’t need press. Jay is a class act, GOD Bless all our military who have given all for our freedom, and hats off to Jay for being such a fine human being. What have you haters done for a Vet lately? Nothing just what I thought. I live in Norfolk Va, home of the largest Naval Installation in the World, I was born and raised here and have the utmost respect fir anyone who wears the uniform. I have wwritten and recorded a song called America it pays trbute to our military
    Shame on you who would post ignorant comments to try and bring down such a great story… Sincerly , O.V. Mayor

  • Bruce

    Thank you Jay for getting it! Your the man that walks his talk. And a special thanks to this young man and to all those men and women for their service to our great country! God Bless all of you and may he keep you safe.

  • Ednar

    That is beautiful!
    Jay Leno brings out what is supposed to be the true nature of man in generosity, compassion, gratitude & empathy for those who has made us free.

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  • bretthig

    I truly miss Jay at 11:30…what a GREAT person!

  • bertasis

    Yeah JAY!!!!!!

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  • Rudd Miller

    Very nice WOW

  • joe bloe

    Kudos to leno for being empathetic and generous. I have to say though, over all, this turning military and police into almost a fetish is getting concerning. I mean, they did sign up for it. They are being paid. I understand it is dangerous, but so is lobster fishing in alaska. or coal mining. I went to a football game for the first time in like a decade and they just wouldn’t stop praising the military. It was kind of creepy for someone not used to it. I wonder what we are conditioning our kids for?

    • chopper

      Perhaps we are conditioning them to thank the people that protect not just us but our nation. That may be creepy to you, but have you seen what these people get paid? Do you have any idea how terrible the benefits are if they are hurt? Nothing creepy about it, it is simply thanking them and appreciating them as they should be thanked and appreciated. Too many take their safety for granted, these people are heroes. I am not saying that miners are not to be appreciated, their job keeps many of us in electricity, but they don’t take bullets for us. Just because someone is paid does not mean they should not be appreciated.

      • joe bloe

        Well, I don’t think I advocated not appreciating anyone. Frankly, getting hurt by a bullet or a cave in shouldn’t matter much, you are still hurt. I do have some idea what they get paid and what their bennies are, my brother is currently in the special forces. Seems a 60K car is a little excessive to me. We could argue about whether they are protecting our freedom in the middle east and afghanistan, but that is for another day. I guess we just differ in how they “should” be thanked. No doubt some military and police are heroes. Most are not. You certainly wouldn’t know by randomly inviting them out on the field to take a bow. This type of “hero” worship is getting way out of hand in my book. YMMV.

        • chopper

          Okay, I guess we will agree to disagree in this matter. Your brother is not a “typical” soldier. Special forces is a whole other ballgame, and he is entitled to any car he buys. He has obviously done well for himself in the military, and will do well in civilian life too. Of that I have no doubt.
          I wish you and your brother well as well as the police, firefighters, all military personnel, coal miners and other countless heroes out there that we don’t even know about. 🙂 I do want to say though that while many are not heroes, they would be if thee situation were to arise, at least the majority of them would be. Thank goodness they don’t all have to be heroes.

        • Eagle2758

          Again, Visit or volunteer at a VA Hospital, clinic,etc. Go by a VFW post, American Legion post, or DAV post. You will find your answer,eh. If it really matters to you. If not, GFYS.

    • Eagle2758

      Visit or volunteer at a VA Hospital, clinic,etc. Go by a VFW post, American Legion post, or DAV post. You will find your answer,eh.

  • zeevee61

    Oh wow Jay Leno you’re awesome!!

  • Mr Smiff

    we need more Jay Lenos and fewer John Stewarts in the world

  • Martyay

    Jay, thanks for your generosity to this soldier. Much better than what we got in 70 when we came home. God bless you, man.

  • Couch Cat

    There are a few people in Hollyweed that have their act together. Very few. Leno is the real deal.

  • DougieFresh Garrett

    Nice Work #jayleno and God bless my brother Veteran for his sacrifices. Be strong Brother and to all combat injured brothers .. I Thank you . I pride you !

  • Dawnrose D’Aloia

    I respect Jay Leno for that act of generosity.

  • Eagle2758


  • Bob Smith

    So nice to see something positive in the news for once. Well done Mr. Leno.


    thank you Jay for cheering up a brother in arms
    may god bless you

  • Glock29

    You are an awesome person Jay! Thank you for your service Ethan Laberge please let us know if you cannot afford the insurance we will all pitch in and pay for it!

  • joy bussey

    That’s what people with money should do with it . Way to go Jay.

  • Butch

    I was in the army,,My dad in Navy,,My father-in-law,,Marine….just wanted to say thank you

  • Sandra Wise

    Jay Leno is the tops!! God Bless him for his sweet giving soul. Such a great man. Hats off to you Jay Leno and all your compassion.

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