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Reporter Who Discovered Ted Williams Covers the Homeless

Jan 6, 2011 – 2:54 PM
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Mara Gay

Mara Gay Contributor

Doral Chenoweth always gives some loose change to the homeless people he comes across, so when he and his wife saw a man on the side of the road last month asking for a little help, they gave him a dollar.

But this time, Chenoweth, a journalist and Web producer for The Columbus Dispatch, got something unexpected from a velvety-voiced homeless man named Ted Williams in return: a short but stunning vocal performance that he knew right away he wanted to videotape.

"He always gives some money, never more than a couple of dollars. But he knew when he heard that voice that he wanted to film him. So about a week later, he took a Flip camera and went to find him," Chenoweth's wife, Robin, told AOL News today by phone.

The resulting video went viral on the Web, transforming the 53-year-old Williams from a homeless recovering drug and alcohol addict into a celebrity almost overnight.

Doral Chenoweth said he was happy for Williams, who has received scores of job offers since he was catapulted to stardom this week. "You hope he has a good life," Chenoweth told the New York Daily News. "There's a chance that he could go back to alcohol and drugs. That would be sad."

Chenoweth has been covering stories about homelessness in Columbus, Ohio, for years. His wife said watching the reaction to Williams' story has been rewarding. "My husband feels good about it because that's his big issue, that's been his big issue for as long as I've known him," she said. "Most of the homeless people in Columbus know him. He keeps them in the forefront all the time."

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She said her husband is a bit overwhelmed by the incredible response to the video, which has gotten more than 7 million views since it was posted Monday on and YouTube. "He's not used to being on this side of the story," said Robin Chenoweth, who is also a journalist. "I think he's a little dazed. He thought [Williams'] voice was incredible. He just didn't expect people to respond the way they have."

Doral Chenoweth did not immediately respond to a call for comment today.

Williams was in New York today, on morning talk shows. He said he's prepared for his second chance.

"This time around I have God," Williams told NBC's "Today" show.
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