The homeless man with a golden voice is an Internet sensation. Fame has gotten Ted Williams job offers, a house and a trip home to Brooklyn. On Monday a photographer from an Ohio newspaper noticed Williams holding a sign reading in part, "I have a God given gift of voice." The photographer posted a story. It exploded on the Internet and has now been viewed more than seven million times.
Turns out we didn't have to look far to find people right here in Houston who can relate to this heartwarming story. You wouldn't know by the feelings of hope and love in their songs, but every member of the Salvation Army Harbor Light Choir used to be trapped in the clutches of drugs and alcohol.
"I had no job. I had no money. I had no food and panhandling was going to be my next step," said Robert Lavergne, a former choir member.
He was just like Ted Williams, an unknown homeless man standing on a street corner who used to work in radio.
"The voice became a development, and I went to school for it. Then drugs and alcohol became a part of my life. I got two years clean," said Williams in the YouTube video.
The whole world is taking notice. Williams has been flooded with media requests and job offers, including from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"That lady offered me a full-time job with the Cavs and something about the mortgage of a home. I'm going with that. I mean after the offers I've had, I've had quite a few, I'll be working in Cleveland, Ohio! Yeah, I'm looking forward to that," said Williams on Wednesday.
Williams isn't the first to have benefited from media coverage. Last year, an edgy website created for a Houston homeless man asked people to "Pimp This Bum." It got tens of thousands of hits. Tim Edwards got a job, a shave and an apartment.
It was a second chance the Harbor Light Choir members relate to. All the men once put their talents good use. Leroy Davis was a sound engineer. Semarlon Williams played music in church, and Robert Lavergne was a star football player at the University of Houston and later in the pros before his dream life became a nightmare.
"It definitely is inspiring to know you can hit rock bottom in your life and have a second chance, an opportunity to get it right," he said.
"Lo and behold the jobs I lost from using (drugs) I now have a second chance to get them back," said Davis.
"I do believe God allows us to go through these things so we can be a testimonial for someone else. There are a lot of people out there who don't know they can have the same opportunity if they trust in God," said Williams.