Dwayne Johnson is giving back this holiday season by surprising longtime WWE employee Bruno Lauer with a shiny new pickup truck. Lauer, who performed on camera as ringside manager Harvey Wippleman in the early ’90s, was there for The Rock in the days before Johnson found fame as a professional wrestler. Now looking to show his gratitude for Lauer’s generosity, Johnson gifted him with a new Ford F-150 and the results have been shared to Instagram.
In the video’s caption, Dwayne Johnson explains the full story of his relationship with Lauer. As a kid, Johnson and his mother were evicted from the island of Hawaii, so he was sent to Nashville, Tennessee to live with his father. As Johnson says, “plans change,” and he found out living with his dad wasn’t an option. The Rock was then told he’d be living with Bruno in a tiny room at a palace called the Alamo Plaza motel.
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“Bruno could’ve (and should’ve) said hell no, I’m not takin’ in some kid who I don’t know,” Johnson says. “But he didn’t. He took this punk kid in and we became lifelong friends. Then ironically – about 9 years later when I had the infamous ‘$7 Bucks’ in my pocket – I started my wrestling career in Memphis, Tennessee and AGAIN – had no place to live and Bruno took me and let me shake up in his trailer, til I could get on my feet.”
Circling back to the automobile, Johnson also writes, “And hell, when I was 15yrs old, Bruno even gave me his last $40 bucks so I could hustle a crackhead out of his car one night at a honky tonk in Nashville. But the hustle was on me, because when I took off down the road there was a SECOND CRACKHEAD passed out on the floor in the back!”
The wrestler then adds, “Merry Christmas, Bruno and since you helped me “buy” my first car – I figured I could return the favor and buy you one that 100% does NOT have a crackhead in the back seat! love you, brother. Your kindness and heart – helped change my life’s trajectory.”
The Instagram video is a heartwarming watch, as Lauer is nearly at a loss for words when he receives the gift. After taking a seat into the truck for the first time, Lauer begins to break down, mentioning how nobody’s ever done anything like this for him before.
“I love you, man. Not because of this – because of who you are,” Lauer says. “I can’t believe this. Thank you, man. Thank you lord Jesus for putting him in my life.”
The Ford F-150 gift exchange happened on the set of Young Rock, a new TV series documenting the early years of the man who’d go on to achieve great fame as a pro wrestler and become the highest-paid actor in Hollywood. As such an important part of his teenage years, it seems likely Johnson’s story about living with Lauer will be adapted for the show. The series is set to premiere on NBC sometime in 2021. The video of Johnson gifting the truck to Lauer was posted by The Rock on Instagram.
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