Most Americans haven’t really seen much of comedian and talk show host Jay Leno since he signed-off as host of the iconic “Tonight Show” in 2014.
Sure, he’s hosted a different kind of talk show since then, on various streaming platforms, with “Jay Leno’s Garage.” (Most people know Leno as an avid collector of classic and unique vehicles.) Also, he’s had a stint as a recurring character on Tim Allen‘s conservative/libertarian family sitcom, “Last Man Standing.”
This is a man who’s never without a twinkle in his eye. On Sunday, Leno didn’t disappoint on that front. During a press conference before one of the premier car races of the season, he joked that it’s “not that big of a reward” to get to meet superstar racecar driver Jeff Gordon … which was what one, lucky veteran thought he was set to do at North Carolina’s Charlotte International Raceway, ahead of today’s Coca-Cola 600 race. But, as it turned out, Leno, along with his former “Tonight Show” bandleader/sidekick Kevin Eubanks, had a huge surprise for him.
The vet was treated to what Leno, who acted as the co-grand marshal of the event, called a “gift” he was glad to give — no strings attached.
I’ll let Jay take it from there. In a heart-felt, emotional story, the comedian reveals how giving back to veterans over the years has meant the world to him and his pal Kevin.
Jay Leno and Kevin Eubanks gave a new car to a veteran during their visit to Charlotte Motor Speedway. You can see more on the @FOXSports broadcast today for the Coca-Cola 600.
Jay Leno and Kevin Eubanks gave a new car to a veteran during their visit to Charlotte Motor Speedway. You can see more on the @FOXSports broadcast today for the Coca-Cola 600. pic.twitter.com/TQiuHqFmqu
— Steve Reed (@SteveReedAP) May 30, 2021
He began by telling the assembled media and onlookers at a press event that this was just how he and Eubanks were brought up:
“Both of us, our moms told us, when you go somewhere, to bring a gift.”
But, Leno stressed, there was nothing in it for him, just knowing that he gave back, and that’s the right thing to do. As I wrote previously about another multi-millionaire, someone else blessed with bounty and accomplishment through hard work in his life, former NFL player Chad Johnson, who quoted Proverbs 11:25 while giving a massive tip at a restaurant a few years back. It reads:
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
Of course, there’s a difference between why we note Memorial Day (today, for our fallen) and Veterans Day (Nov. 11; for all servicemembers).
But, this is the way we should act, like Jay Leno’s and Kevin Eubanks’ moms said. Be the example. No American can truly repay what these servicemen and women give us, for the liberties these folks protect, and yes, sometimes, give their lifeblood for, so that we can enjoy them in freedom. But, it sure is important to try, on this Memorial Day — and every day.