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Ted Williams: Don’t judge a book by its cover

Okay, so if you haven’t yet heard of Ted Williams, you need to. It’s a great story.

At the beginning of this week Ted Williams was homeless. He was begging on the streets, panhandling at intersections.

Ted Williams from Ohio, the inspirational story of the man with the golden voice

Ted Williams, inspirational story

Early this week he stood by the side of Interstate 71 in Columbus Ohio holding a sign that said “I have a God given gift of voice”, asking for help.

Ted Williams - the inspirational story of the panhandling man turned viral video star

Ted Williams panhandling in Ohio

A reporter for the Columbus Dispatch saw the sign, and chose to video the interaction. He posted the amazing video on YouTube and it instantly went viral, getting over 13 million views in just around 48 hours (an unprecedented explosion of popularity).

Here’s the video:

What happens next is nothing short of motivating, inspirational, and just plain amazing.

Seeing the video, he’s invited onto several shows, including the Today Show, CBS Morning News, and numerous others. He was flown to New York, his home town, by the Today Show, where he was also able to meet his mother, whom he hasn’t seen in more than a decade.

Ted Williams on Today

Williams tells his story of starting out as a radio announcer, but falling into alcohol and drugs, to the point where they took over his life, and he lost everything. His family (9 kids – 7 daughters and 2 sons), wife, home, job, everything.

Living in a tent, he finally decided he needed a change. He’s been 2 years clean now.

In the aftermath of the viral video, thankfully captured and brought to YouTube, he’s been offered numerous jobs, including becoming the official voice for Kraft, an announcer for the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, and Quicken even called him up and gave him a fully-paid mortgage to buy a house or apartment.

Through it all, he’s keeping God in the center, repeatedly offering up his gratitude in these public interviews.

On the Today show, just a few days after being discovered, he was asked if he had a newfound appreciation for the homeless, to which he replied:

“Please don’t judge a book by its cover. Everybody has their own little story.”

Here are several videos chronicling the inspirational journey.

Interview with Today Show

[youtube LAcIFIASiI4 488]

Interview with CBS

[youtube gWG6zNf4xY0 488]
10 replies
  1. BeachBrokerBill
    BeachBrokerBill says:

    Hey Rusty:

    Hope all is well with your family this New Year. Ted’s story is intriguing to me as it is far from over and it can go many directions depending on whether he can conquer the demons that have ruled his life for many, many years. Youtube has some post-Jan. 7th video footage from Dr. Phil that truly show the grip that addiction has on this man, and potentially illustrate (trying to be careful here) how those affected by the disease use their proclaimed believe in God to appear like they have it together now when in reality the proclamation is part of a larger manipulation imparted by the (demon) disease itself.

    While I am convinced God is absolutely at work here, Ted has all the best people trying to assist him and it will be interesting to see if their help will enable him to gain his freedom from the bondage of addiction. To me, this story is truly a chronicle on how much addiction can control a person and run their life into the ground – and how helpless those who truly care are to do much about it.

    Talk Soon.


  2. Rusty Lindquist
    Rusty Lindquist says:

    Yeah, it’ll be a tough journey, and he’s likely to have multiple falls still to come. I still feel like his compass is aligned though. He’s in turbulent waters, and he’s going to be forced off course more often than not, but as long as he’s got moments of lucidity, where he keeps trying to realign himself with his long-term desires for change, I think he’ll make it.

    It seems many are focused on his lucky break, the catalytic moment where he was catapulted to internet stardom. But they overlook the journey he took before then. It was clear from the original video, he had already taken stock of his scant inventory of possible strengths, found one that he could leverage, and used it. It’s unclear how many days he’s stood on that corner, or some other corner, holding that sign, looking for a break, persevering under the hope of something greater.

    It just so happens that the break that found him ended up being an extremely compressed crucible of change. Thrust into a new environment, and a national spotlight literally overnight has required him to confront his demons in an extraordinarily short period of time.

    Many, under those circumstances, coming from SOLID backgrounds, end up folding under the pressure. The fact that he’s doing as well as he is, under the pressure and spotlight that he’s under, on top of the background from which he’s working to escape, shows me that his compass reading is on target, and in the end, his resolve will win the day.

    At least that’s my hope. Change endurance is the hardest part of change period.

  3. sonia
    sonia says:

    Hello how are you i hope your fine?my name is miss Sonia i will like you to write me through my private email address so that we can get to know each other better ok here is
    my email address (

  4. Asad Varzgani
    Asad Varzgani says:

    We are Hazara people, as Ted Williams said rightly, that the God is there. We were badly treated people in Afghanistan in the past, about a century ago, by the then Abdur-Reham Afghan Emirates or what ever you call, in the name of according to them infidals, whilst we are muslim of Shiaate faith, which are the belief of the Iranians and many more in the Middle East. We left our homeland and were dispersed around. My fore father came to Quetta Pakistan. Today again the same spree of faith has been unleashed again. I know and believe that God is there to help us.Ted you are wonderful.

  5. Cally Weeks
    Cally Weeks says:

    Hello: I just watched the story on TV about TED – October 8, 2012. His voice is a gift. I hope that someone will make a movie about him.

    Ted, send me a wish for success as well. I lived in Columbus on Trabue Road.



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