This is a story about a homeless guy called Ted, who suddenly became interesting when people noticed that he had an amazing voice and should be on the radio or something.
He used to do radio voice-over work, in fact, but he started having addiction problems with alcohol and drugs, and ended up homeless and unemployed. Although apparently sober for a couple of years, he was still homeless until about a week ago.
Then a local reporter got to know him a little, and made a video of him talking beautifully about himself and his story, which was uploaded to YouTube.
It was watched by over 13 million people within two days, constituting what memologists refer to as an NNLE, or “Numa Numa-level event”. There was an immense outpouring of sympathy and affection for the guy, and in very short order he started getting offers of voice-over work and was given a house by a basketball team. Here he is being interviewed about the recent developments in his life.
So, lesson learned. If you’re struck by misfortune and in dire need of some help and compassion from your neighbours, then your best bet is still to be young, female, and white – but failing that, at least try to sound as un-homeless as possible.
I don’t want to be too cynical here. I’m really pleased that things have turned around for Ted Williams; he seems absolutely deserving of another chance, and I don’t begrudge him at all what I hope will continue to be a successful career comeback.
It just seems a little arbitrary. One man gets a big media firestorm of help and support; thousands of others in a similar situation get to keep being homeless and ignored, because they’re not quite as charming or aesthetically incongruous.
And yet. People did something good, which is better than not doing something good, even if it’s not perfect.