A man who was recently a panhandler on a Columbus street now has job offers from several places, thanks to a viral video.
Ted Williams, 53, who had been living in homeless camps, was standing at the side of the road with a sign stating that he has a God-given gift of voice and is an ex-radio announcer who had fallen on hard times.
A videographer for the Columbus Dispatch filmed Williams in December and the video was placed on the newspaper’s website and on YouTube, quickly going viral.
He ended up with offers of works from MTV, ESPN, The National Football League, talent agents, voice coaches, syndicated talk shows, as an announcer for the Cleveland Cavaliers and more.
"I feel like Susan Boyle or Justin Bieber,” the Columbus Dispatch quoted him as saying. "It's almost choking me."
Williams has now had a haircut and is wearing new clothes.
The New York Post quoted Williams as telling radio station WNCI: "The Cleveland Cavaliers just offered me a full-time job and a house! A house! A house!"
It is uncertain which job offer he will take yet, but he does have definite plans to return to Brooklyn, where he grew up, to visit his 92-year-old mother, who he has not seen in 20 years.
Williams was known by homeless friends and police as "Radio Man."
He attended the Central Ohio School of Broadcasting in the 1980s and served for three years in the U.S. Armed Forces before working at radio stations in North Carolina and Ohio.
He has had problems with substance abuse and been arrested for theft, but said he has been sober for two-and-a-half years.
He has seven children but broke up with his wife years ago.
"You've got to sink so low before you're willing to make a change," Williams told the Columbus Dispatch.
"Even in spite of my bad hair days, I still had hope."
He related that he felt 2010 was not a wasted year because it was the year he really found God in his life.
He said that while he was on the side of the street with his sign he was hoping someone with something like an internet radio station might offer him some work.
“I had no idea that something like this would have ever happened to me,” he told CBS News. “It’s like winning the mega ball lottery or something. This is just phenomenal.”