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."
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.