When I first heard the story of the ex-radio announcer discovered holding a cardboard sign on the side of the road, I was in awe. His voice is nothing short of amazing. It’s what I like to imagine God’s voice sounds like. Plus, who doesn’t love a comeback story?
It’s another overnight success courtesy of the YouTube platform, and of course the man who made it all happen by filming this brief video. How many people do you know who would stop and interview that guy? I know I’d be too afraid to.
Then came the Today Show feature where the newly-groomed Ted met with his mom after 20 years being estranged, and I thought, this woman is so mean.
All she had to say was how embarrassed she was that he was panhandling and how disappointed she was. Of course I understood where she was coming from – the man had fallen into the deathly trap of drugs. I get it. But I wondered why she just couldn’t be happy with this moment, reuniting with her son with shiny new opportunities on his horizon.
Then I read this article yesterday and started to see more of his mother’s perspective. Not only did he succumb to drugs and addiction, but he was not the only person directly affected by it. As it turns out, he left his own family behind. His ex-wife, Patricia Kirtley, was on her own to raise their four daughters and a son that Williams had with another woman and she managed to get the education she needed to support them. She did all this while being partially blind.
The harsh reality of his own self destruction meant that he was not the only one who fell on hard times. Maybe he needs to hear the shame in his mother’s voice to keep him on the right track. All that I know is, I hope that when he gets settled that he attempts to make amends to the other victims of his carelessness and drug abuse.
Ted Williams, please don’t disappoint your mother. You have been given a second chance, and we’re rooting for you!