Golden-Voiced Homeless Man Gets Jobs, Trip Home

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ted Williams always knew he had a voice for radio but never could have imagined an opportunity like this on a radio show Wednesday morning at WNCI in Columbus, Ohio.

"I'm thinking I'm going to come in here and put my best foot forward and use my voice and hopefully somebody would hear me from this show," said Williams.

CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reports while Williams is at home behind the microphone, "home" is really outside. He's homeless. He sleeps by the side of the freeway in a spot obscured by brush. He panhandles just to get by.

"People drive by and say 'Get a job.'" says Williams.

Ted Williams, Homeless Video Star, Offered Jobs

For the better part of 20 years Ted Williams was on and off the streets, according to his friends, sometimes mixed up with drugs, alcohol and even the law. He stood on a street corner holding out a sign and holding out hope that someone would stop and listen.

"I would always have spirit enough to say, 'Don't forget tomorrow morning is your chance to win tickets to see Gladys Knight and the Pips live in concert," he says.

About five weeks ago one driver slowed down and shot video of Williams holding a sign that read, "I'm an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times."

Scroll down to watch the video below.

The photographer was Doral Chenoweth from the "Columbus Dispatch." He kept the film and waited for a slow news day:

Doral Chenoweth: "I didn't have anything and I thought, 'Hey, I got that homeless guy with the great voice. I'll throw that up in the web."

Seth Doane: "You had shot that weeks before?"

Chenoweth: "It almost didn't get on the internet."

By Wednesday afternoon the clip of Williams has drawn more than 5 million page views. Even his 90-year-old mother back in Brooklyn heard about the video of a son she's worried so much about.

"I've been hurt. My heart is hurt," says Julia Williams. "I prayed and prayed and prayed and I just used to think maybe god don't want to listen to me," she says.

But lots of people are listening to her son now.

Doane: "Why does this story translate? Why does it resonate?"

Dave Kaelin, WNCI-FM: "Redemption. Everyone would love a second chance."

Since Wednesday morning the offers are pouring in: Cleveland Cavaliers, NFL Films and MTV to name a few. But the most meaningful opportunity is a trip to New York Wednesday night to be reunited with his mother after more than 10 years.

"Out of all of this is that I get to see my mom!" says Williams.

Ted Williams always knew he had a voice. Finally, people are listening.

  • Seth Doane

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