Post #4: DJ Ted Williams: What makes him different from the thousands of other U.S. homeless?

By now, we’ve all heard the amazing story of Ted Williams, the man whose life was changed overnight.

“Discovered” while panhandling on the side of the road in Columbus, Ohio, Williams (aka DJ Ted Williams) has become a viral sensation, with such corporate giants as Kraft and the NBA offering him everything from a full-time job to a free home.

Once a working radio announcer, Williams took a wrong turn in the late nineties when his addictions with drugs and alcohol led him to a life on the streets. In the years that followed he had several run ins with the law; his rap sheet includes theft, forgery, robbery and drug possession.

When a video of him surfaced on the internet, the world was immediately intrigued by this man with the so-called “golden pipes” and warm, easy grin. And then later, when we saw him all cleaned and spiffed up, we felt good. This was a success story. Just a few weeks ago, when most of us were celebrating the holidays with loved ones and elegantly wrapped gifts, this man was likely sleeping out in the cold, on a sidewalk. No one paid him any attention then, and yet now we can’t look away.

So what makes this man any different from the thousands of other homeless individuals that sleep on our streets? Do they not deserve a new chance, simply because they weren’t blessed with “golden” vocal chords? Of course not. Is any of this our fault? Well, if you ask me, yes and no.

Is it feasible to think that we could help rehabilitate every single homeless person in our country? No. Is it naive to believe that it’s possible to help make a significant difference in the homeless community? Uh, yes. Sadly, yes.

Just recently, CNN told the story of six-year-old Marja, a little girl in Kabul, Afghanistan, who walks the streets searching for trash.

Whatever she finds she carries home in large sack, balanced on her back. Her family burns the trash and uses the fire to cook their food and keep them warm in the colder winter months. And it’s not just a comfort factor- last winter Marjan’s baby brother died when they ran out of trash to burn, causing their one-room shack constructed out of mud to reach unbearably cold temperatures.

When you read about this celebrity spending x amount of thousands of dollars on a custom car, or a lavish vacation, or whatever, it’s hard not to begrudge them this privilege. I mean, what if, instead of spending their money in such lavish and frivolous ways, they helped those who were less fortunate? What if every wealthy person did this?

Just doing a simple Google search for “lavish celebrity spending” brings up a wealth (pun intended) of results: Beyonce spent a reported $2 million dollars on a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport for husband Jay-Z’s 41st birthday, and in return, he bought her three hundred and fifty thousand dollars worth of designer purses. How many Ted Williams would 2.3 million dollars feed?

Or how about Miss Lindsay Lohan, who is apparently living in a beachfront Venice apartment that costs $7100 dollars a month. Even for L.A., that seems excessive. What if, call me crazy, she lived in a “modest” $2000 a month rental property (I laughed as I typed ‘modest,’ even put in quotation marks. I would gladly, gratefully, gleefully live in a $2000 a month apartment in L.A.! Bitch, please!) and gave away the remaining $5000? Let’s say she funded five families a month, giving them each a thousand dollars extra income? I know plenty of people who be so bold as to call an extra $1000 a month life changing.

Not that celebrities and the wealthy don’t give charitably. I know they do. And yet, there are a hundred Ted Williams walking our streets, harboring a unique talent or a colorful past, unbeknownst to everyone. Until someone films them and puts it on YouTube.


UPDATE: Photos of Miss Lohan’s new place can be found here.

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One Response to “Post #4: DJ Ted Williams: What makes him different from the thousands of other U.S. homeless?”

  1. Phenomental post! It’s so true. So little could make such a life-altering change for those in need. If only those with the resources would share their wealth with the less fortunte.

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