Reporting Hazel Sanchez
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Brooklyn native may soon be going from highway panhandler to radio superstar.
Ted Williams is homeless, but not hopeless. The 53-year-old with the golden radio voice now has a brighter future after being featured in a video that has turned him into an internet sensation.
More than that, though, Williams — estranged from his 92-year-old mother for more than a decade — was hoping to reunite with her this week thanks to his velvety voice.
Williams was panhandling on Interstate 71 in Ohio with a hand-written sign advertising his “God given gift of voice” when a reporter from the Columbus Dispatch interviewed and videotaped him.
In the clip, Williams stands near a Columbus highway ramp demonstrating his smooth, deep speaking polished broadcasting voice. He holds a sign that asks motorists for help and says, “I’m an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times.”
“I was holding that sign with the hopes, or the wishful thinking that somebody was going to ride by and say, ‘Hey man, you know, I got an internet radio station that could possibly use some production work,’” Williams told ”The Early Show” on Wednesday.
Williams says he trained to be a radio announcer but ran into trouble with alcohol and drugs, and is now looking for a second chance.
“I would like to just have a job, and a home, an apartment or anything to be able to cook in, I’d like to just get my life in a responsible area,” Williams said.
Columbus radio station WNCI invited him to its studios and says ESPN and MTV have expressed interest. Williams has received a $10,000 offer for voice-over work, and a Pennsylvania radio station wants him, too.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have also offered an unspecified job to Williams. He was first contacted Wednesday by the team.
Team spokesman Tad Carper said details are still being worked out on a possible position for Williams. Carper said any job could include working in Quicken Loans Arena, the NBA team’s downtown arena. It is not yet known if Williams has accepted the team’s offer.
“I had no idea that something like this would’ve ever happened to me it’s like almost winning the Mega ball lottery,” Williams said.
Now, though, Williams is reaching his ultimate goal – after a decade apart, he is finally reuniting with his mother, Julia Williams. She said she’s trying to be optimistic that her once-troubled son is finally on the right path.
“I pray for him, and I hope his is,” she said. “I pray, I pray, I hope this is the answer.”