Posted on January 11, 2011
By now, we’ve all heard the story. “Homeless Man With Golden Voice Finds Fame.” It began with a YouTube video that went viral over the new year’s day weekend. The footage depicts a bedraggled man standing at a traffic intersection in Ohio holding a cardboard sign – a sight familiar to many, though most of us respond to this sight by driving quickly past without bothering to look. A reporter from the Columbus Dispatch stopped and filmed the man, 53-year-old Ted Williams, and in less than a week, his “golden voice” had earned him a number of television appearances and lucrative job offers.
Speaking to The Today Show’s Matt Lauer on the morning of Wednesday January 5th, Mr. Williams described his experiences with homelessness. It’s an experience we at Virginia Supportive Housing have encountered many times. More than a decade on the streets. History of substance abuse and incarceration. Painful estrangement from family members. Despite his TV appearance makeover, his gaunt face, wiry frame, and trembling hands betray years of hard living. And yet his smile is luminous and his eyes sparkle with emotion. Following the interview, Matt Lauer declares that Ted Williams is “just a man in need of a second chance.”
We at Virginia Supportive Housing couldn’t agree more and, in fact, second chances are really what we are all about. Look back at the faces of the VSH clients featured in our blog and newsletter over the course of last year. Read their testimonials. Although they don’t have “golden voices” and they haven’t appeared on The Jimmy Fallon Show, they do share something in common with Ted Williams, and that is the desire to be something more than merely “homeless.” They want to transcend the suffocating limitations of that label and rediscover the purpose for which they were put on this earth. Like Mr. Williams, we all have a “God-given gift” that defines who we were meant to be. And despite whatever bad mistakes or poor choices we happen to have made, we are all deserving of a second chance.