Most people show their support for veterans with thank yous, patriotic bumper stickers, and small charity donations. But Jay Leno isn't most people. The former talk-show host and all around car fanatic recently took a wounded veteran for a ride in a 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, then tossed him the keys.
Leno wanted to do something that would bring a little fun into a veteran's life as part of The Today Show's ongoing Shine A Light series. So he gave Corporal Ethan Leberge a ride in the Hellcat—then gave him the car. Leberge was injured in a suicide-bomber attack in Afghanistan that also killed two soldiers. He sustained shrapnel wounds to his left leg and arm, and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Leno said that when he meets soldiers he finds that they're often "worlds apart," but he and Leberge quickly bonded over their mutual love of cars, and Leberge jumped at the chance to take a ride in the Hellcat. Leno has found plenty of nice things to say about the Hellcat in the past, and Leberge was--not surprisingly--impressed by the 707-horsepower muscle car as well.
"I wouldn't mind having one of these," he said, after which Leno handed him the keys.
"America loves you," Leno said, "Thank you buddy. Have lots of fun. Don't get any tickets."
Leberge said he couldn't promise that, and who could blame him?