Suddenly, Ted Williams, the man with the “golden voice,” is no longer an invisible homeless man. He was catapulted into the media when a video of him and his radio voice was recorded by the Columbus Dispatch and posted on Youtube. Within days the video was viewed 15 million times and Ted Williams became a household name. He has appeared on numerous talk shows, has been offered a home and lots of employment contracts and he has been reunited with his mother who has been praying for him for years. It is an inspiring story.
When I heard about Ted, I thought, "I sure hope he has a good support system around him so he has help dealing with the stress and attention this will bring." I also wonder how this messes with our perspectives on the homeless. Certainly if it were not for his unique talent, Ted would have been looked over and would still be on the street. Until a few weeks ago, not many thought Ted Williams was worth a second glance. I wonder what other amazing talent is being wasted because of the suffocating stress of addiction, isolation and homelessness.
Ted represents many of the people we meet everyday in our interim housing centers at Breakthrough. Some are very talented but have hit bottom due to complicated circumstances. All are valuable as precious human beings created in the image of God. Like Ted, many of them have family members who have been praying for them for years. Most will not get the shot at fame and fortune that Ted Williams is experiencing, but with attention and a strong network of loving support, they can rise to start a new life. There are many inspiring stories waiting to be discovered.
I wish Ted the best and join his mother in saying, “Don’t disappoint us Ted.” I wonder, will the world still be there to support him if he falls?