For those of you that know me personally, you know that I can't even go get the mail without coming back with a 10 minute story. The following posts are a collection of the crazy stuff that happens when I’m out in the world and out at shows; from the "I Always Have A Story" section of my monthly e-newsletters.
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Earlier this month I had the unique opportunity to play at the 4th Annual Fisher House Golf Classic fundraiser at Lansdowne Resort. It was an amazing event that raised over 1 million dollars. For those that aren’t familiar with The Fisher House Foundation, they build homes on the grounds of VA medical centers to provide free lodging for the families of military members receiving medical care. Hosted by CNN White House correspondent Brianna Keilar, the event had several special guests, including General Martin Dempsey (Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff), who actually upstaged me by singing a song himself.
Look at me in my fancy cloths!Following dinner, they had a live auction to help raise more money for this great cause. While Brianna played the auctioneer, items auctioned off included a framed American flag that flew over Afghanistan, a baseball bat signed by 28 Medal of Honor recipients, and more. All of the items were going for between $2,000 - $5,000. The last item up for bid was the “Jay Leno Package”, which included a private tour for two of Jay’s car collection in LA and two VIP tickets to The Tonight Show with a stop in the green room followed by a meet and greet with Jay. I was sitting there thinking that some rich dude would probably be willing to pay a couple grand for it. When the bidding reached 4 grand and seemed to stall out, Brianna asked if there were any more bids. Some guy sitting in the front row raised his left hand while his right hand held a phone pressed to his ear, apparently giving bid instructions. He mumbled something that sounded like “one hundred thousand dollars”. Brianna looked down and said “did you say one HUNDRED thousand dollars?!”. After consulting with the person on the other end of the phone, he in fact repeated ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. The crowd went dead silent, all of us wondering if this was even real. Who raises an auction bid from 4 grand to a 100 grand?! Ummmm… do I hear TWO hundred thousand dollars? No such luck. After a quick confirmation from Brianna, she proudly said “sold!” with a surprised look on her face shared by the whole room.
While the entire audience gave the mystery bidder a standing ovation, the guy that placed the bet held the phone up so the charitable caller could hear the claps. He was also able to hear Brianna announce to the crowd that the grand total raised from the event was $960,000. Just a few seconds later, the bidder decided to best his own generosity and INCREASE his bid to $140,000 – just to make sure the event raised an even million.
So how much is Jay Leno worth? Well, at least one person thinks he’s worth about 140 grand. Obviously the mystery bidder wanted to wonderfully donate a serious lump of cash to the foundation, and didn’t really think the Leno trip was worth that much. But it was certainly a flamboyant way to help a great cause. Now if I could just sell a few more $8 CDs at my shows…