Jay Leno’s Letter to Henry Ford II

July 24, 2021

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2020/2021 AHF Inductee Jay Leno was always comfortable talking with celebrities and leaders, even before he became a television star. 

As a child, Leno hung out at the local Ford dealer and managed to land a part time job as a “lot boy.”  A “lot boy” was responsible for keeping the cars clean and fetching whatever was needed by the crew in the garage. 

One day, Leno was carrying a stack of wheel covers when he managed to drop them on the shop floor.  The covers dented easily, and the boss fired him on the spot. Leno was heartbroken at losing this “car guy” job. 

Leno’s solution was to write a letter. He waxed poetic about how much he loved Ford automobiles and really missed his job at the Ford dealer. He addressed this letter to the most powerful man in the Ford empire: Mr. Henry Ford II in Detroit. Kind of like approaching the King with a small problem.   

The plan worked and word was sent from Dearborn to the dealership to rehire “the kid.” Leno clearly demonstrated the fortitude and innovation that helped him rise as a stand-up comic.

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