Leno tours Huntsville Hospital, donates $10K to foundation

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - You just never know who you're going to run into at Huntsville Hospital. Old friends, distant relatives, maybe even Jay Leno.

Leno is in Huntsville for the annual Huntsville Classic to benefit the Huntsville Hospital Foundation. But Thursday afternoon he spent some time at the hospital to do something rather special.

Leno was full of surprises as he walked through the hospital, pausing to pose for selfies with any and everyone who wanted. As he was introduced, it was explained Mayor Tommy Battle couldn't be there for the greeting. It was the only opening Leno needed.

"Was he indicted? What happened," Leno asked? "What happened? Everything okay? Did the feds show up? Where is he? Where is the mayor, ladies and gentlemen?"

Huntsville Classic Co-Chairman Barney Heyward had introduced Leno to a small crowd of VIP's and members of the news media, and was attempting to present him with a proclamation from Battle's office. "Anyway, we've declared today Jay Leno day..."

"But the day's almost half over, I only get half a day! It's half a day," Leno interrupted.

Heyward continued, "And this is a proclamation we want to present to you, and again we're glad you're here. You don't want to hear me speak..."

But Leno interrupted again, "No no, you don't want to hear me speak either but I want to add, you tell me the employees paid for that wing, is that right?" It was the ICU unit employees collectively paid for.

"Well, I am technically an employee because I'm working here tonight so I'll kick in ten grand for the wing next door. That's what it cost to buy one of these," Leno joked as he held up the proclamation.

He was guided to the Cardiac Care Unit where he visited with several patients, including Brian Rice, of Scottsboro, who just a day earlier suffered a heart attack.

"Hey you guys, how are you? Had a couple of close calls, huh," Leno asked as he entered Rice's room?

"Definitely one yesterday," Rice explained.

"But you're gonna be okay, right," Leno asked?

"Yeah, absolutely," Rice answered.

Minutes later, after posing for photos with several physicians and members of the nursing staff, Leno talked with reporters about the visit. "It's all for a good cause. It's a great hospital, you see all the people here and the great things they do for people everyday."

You may not think of Jay Leno as an ambassador of good will, unless you happened to catch him Thursday afternoon at Huntsville Hospital.

His performance at the VBC Thursday night sold out within days of the tickets going on sale.

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