Redemption is Possible

Youtube is awesome. AWESOME. And do you know why? Because people like Ted Williams get famous overnight because of a video made on his god given talent (and my god, is it ever a gift) that went viral and was viewed millions of times by people everywhere.

First, a little background on Teddy: he’s a father to nine children, he served in the US Army and started attending school for voice acting after he was discharged from the army. But then, Ted’s passion began to fade and he began to drift. It’s an old story and it usually ends the way Ted did: drugs, alcohol, bankruptcy, and a long, bewildering nose-dive from which it seems impossible to pull out of. Consequently, it all lead to his homelessness since 1993.

All these years, decades, later, Ted Williams and his truly great voice wound up in Columbus, OH, standing on a street corner with a sign that laid out his plight: "I have a God-given gift of voice. I’m an ex radio announcer who has fallen on hard times. Please! Any help will be gratefully appreciated. Thank You and God Bless You."

On the 3rd of  January, 2011, a videographer for a paper took a video he recorded of Ted and his talent and posted it on the  Columbus Dispatch’s website which was then reposted by an anonymous youtube user only as "ritchey" and within one day, it was viewed by millions. On January 5th, Williams appeared on the "Dave and Jimmy Show" on WNCI and was interviewed by The Early Show on CBS. He was interviewed on Today, January 6, doing the lead-in voice over, revealing that he was to have an interview to do voice overs for Kraft Foods.

In a nutshell, this homeless guy, a man who probably became virtually invisible to the Columbus motoring public, has a huge and amazingly-marketable talent, as profound and undeniable in its own way as Susan Boyle’s. In just the five days since the story broke, Ted has now had firm job offers from the Cleveland Cavaliers, ESPN, several radio stations, and may quite possibly be the next voice of NFL Films.

How cool is that?!

Here was a guy who absolutely, irrefutably Had It but fumbled the ball so badly that he wound up not only on the sidelines but completely out of the stadium. I can’t imagine his situation; knowing that you can do this one special thing and then not having access to it anymore. You can’t get anyone to listen, can’t even afford to make an audition tape and job-hunt in conventional ways. You’re powerless, invisible and what really stings is that nobody cares.

And now, Ted Williams is set for life. My request to all: whenever you run across a story such as this, don’t assume it’ll take a life of its own, on its own. It won’t. It can’t. There are too many other stories that drown out the one before it. You need to spend time to get that story and its word out to many. Keep the faith, pay it forward and always lend a hand; even if you’re the one who needs it.

A big whoop for Ted Williams!!

Watch the ABC video here

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