John Taylor holding a sign mentioning Ted Williams and the homeless of L.A.Within the last week, we’ve observed how one man’s life has changed dramatically because he was spotted, given an opportunity to share his story and thrust upon the global stage of social media.

Ted Williams, while talented, was first noticed because he was homeless. It was his vulnerability, not his gift, that first attracted the reporter from the Columbus Dispatch. Some have paralleled this modern day story to the parable of The Good Samaritan and rightly so.
Given the passage of time, clarity has shone through and a number of individuals have noted that the fact that Ted happens to be a voice talent is arbitrary in comparison to the fact that this story is really about redemption.
Where is this all going? Find out in today’s VOX Daily.

Mixed Emotions

The public response to Ted Williams has been phenomenal. The media can’t seem to leave him alone and countless outfits have offered him jobs and prominent roles doing voice over related jobs, most notably a recent gig with Kraft and a potential association with Oprah’s O Network.

That being said, not everyone has been as generous in their support for Williams, particularly some people in the broadcast radio industry. Due to the thousands of jobs lost in radio in recent years and cuts to production staff and reporters, many have reason to be resentful, jealous and even upset when trying to comprehend the success that Williams currently enjoys.

Even some people among the voice over community have responded unkindly to the amazing destiny Williams is living out… but that doesn’t mean that their feelings need to stay that way and sometimes they are altered beyond what was once thought imaginable.

Taking A Stand

John Taylor and George Whittam organized a two-hour commitment to stand on the side of the road and beg to get an appreciation for what people like Ted have experienced while raising awareness and accepting donations for a local charity in Los Angeles that serves the homeless called Midnight Mission, located at 601 South San Pedro Street.

Before they got to their destination, John felt that although he was thrilled for Ted Williams’ and his rags to riches story, part of him was embarrassed by his own ugly inner feelings of “entitlement” to the job opportunities heaped upon “the golden voice guy.”

This all changed for John when the character Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird came to mind. This character said, “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walked around in them.” From what John shared with me, he relates that the experience allowed him to get outside of his own head, get away from his spoiled brat alter ego “Little Johnny” and get in touch with what is real, which is truly what this mission was about.
John was quick to acknowledge his friends, saying “George and Lee were so cool to accompany me on this adventure. They are the real deal.”

The Sign

If you remember, Ted Williams used to hold up a sign that told people about his God given voice and his past in radio. If you’ve seen the original video, you’ll note that he held it with a smile on his face and believed every word that was on the cardboard.

Similarly, John and George had signs, including one that read, “We (heart) the attention Ted “Golden Voice” Williams is getting — we want to focus some attention on L.A.’s homeless — give to
John Taylor, photographed above, held the sign for all to see and he too is displaying it with a smile on his face.

What 2 Hours On the Streets Can Teach You

John Taylor shared, “We walked a mile in Ted’s shoes today, although we had warm beds to go home to. We learned what it was like to hold our hands out on the street…$93.00 was the take. Our corner was lent to us by a real homeless guy, an out of work contractor from Revere, MA. He stepped aside and let us work his turf for a couple of hours.

It was a real education. The folks who chipped in were, for the most part, working class guys in pickup trucks, minivan moms, and folks who drove beat up cars. The drivers of the gleaming Bentleys, Beamers, Benzes, Jags, Audis and Range Rovers and Rolls Royces kept their windows up and their aloof eyes straight ahead.”
George Whittam added, “Lee Plaud drove down from

Santa Clarita and met us, as well. It was a very educational social experiment. It was the salt-of-the-worth workin’ class people who actually made the vast majority of donations. We were able to raise over $90 to send to”

Something interesting to note about the gentleman who lent our friends his corner is that this man has a name. “Joe,” who has begged at that corner in West LA for more than 2 years, allowed George and John to inhabit his panhandling “turf” for two hours. Joe also happens to be a former Marine. In the past, he was also a man who used to employ 18 people as a construction contractor… but he had a drug problem. After the real estate bust he could no longer support the workers, the business, himself or the habit. As a consequence he lost everything but he’s hopeful he’ll climb out of this hole.

Joe’s story was what really stuck with George afterward. He noted that each of these people have a story, and while some are severely mentally ill, many others are just like Joe or Ted. They have served a nation, had a career, and are now lost to streets.
John went on to say, “I am hopeful for him (Joe). He was bright, engaging and resourceful. Everybody on the street has a story. I know I can speak for George and Lee: We’ll never look at homeless people the same way again.”

The Giving Continues

Since hearing about George, John and Lee’s experience, a number of people in the voice over community have stepped up and alongside them in effort to raise money and awareness.

Anyone can donate directly to the Los Angeles Midnight Mission at or make an effort to help out your local homeless service agency with your time or some cash. Together we can take inspiration from Ted Williams’ story and use our golden voices to be “Voices for the Homeless” everywhere.

Any Comments?

I’m interested to hear what your thoughts are regarding what George, John and Lee participated in. Would you rally around a corner in your city with a couple of friends and do the same to help the homeless?
Comments are also welcome regarding Ted Williams and the amazing journey he is on.
Best wishes,


  1. I have had the privilege to work with John Taylor at WMBX/WEAT in West Palm Beach what a giving man, and talent to boot! If I was on the West Coast, I would have been there with him. Kudos to John!

  2. This story of kindness and compassion keeps resurfacing in so many different ways. I feel it’s a inspirational lesson for all of us about reaching out to those in need. Each of us can can help and I am so humbled by what John, George, and Lee shared with the rest of us about their encounter with the homeless. Is anyone going to make a YouTube video about Joe?

  3. “Love ain’t love until you give it away”…John , George and Lee give a more complete and well rounded assessment of this experience with real action toward a tighter focus. There are millions of folks out there who can out-sing, out-dance, out-voice or out-anything any of us can do. Jealousy in the face of need doesn’t fit. Whoever needs help should get it–from the heart. From as many hearts as are moved to give. Maybe Ted is an ‘exception to the rule’…

  4. Greetings, Stephanie! How refreshing to read a article where Ted Williams’ story was used as a springboard to provide service and publicity to others instead of oneself!

  5. This is the best thing that could come out of the Ted story. That the spotlight returns to the problem that created it and that others (without a viral video and some unexpected show-biz talent) can get the attention and the help they need to become self-sufficient again. Kudos to John, George, Lee and others who support them!

  6. I don’t like the implication that broadcasters like myself who have been affected adversely by economic downturns and callous corporate down-sizing are in some way ‘uncharitable’ in thinking that Ted Williams is getting an undeserved free ride. Or, that these resentful feelings are in some way wrong and will change when true compassion kicks in There’s a fine line between being unable to meet your mortgage payments and homelessness. Don’t forget, charity begins at home. If a corporate broadcaster has money to throw around to hire a pet homeless person to better their own public profile (and don’t tell me that’s being cynical), they should be able to cough up the dough to hire back one of those loyal employees they’ve tossed to the curb.

  7. I don’t think you’re being cynical Cal. I think you’re calling ’em as you see ’em. The corporations types who’ve adopted Ted are exploiting his tragedy. There are many thousands of folks who’ve played by the rules and gotten the shaft, in ALL industries. We should be angry! Most of us are living closer to the edge than we would like to admit publicly. Kudos to those who hold it together. (these are the hard times we used to hear about from our elders) I just wanted to turn my less than loving feelings into positive action. That’s all. No commentary on the motives of others.
    PS: I wouldn’t trade places with Ted Williams for anything.
    The wreckage that needs repair after his 2 decades of drug abuse is monumental. The broken family relations, the ravages of substance abuse on his health…no thanks!

  8. Thanks very much for taking the time to respond to my diatribe, John. I applaud your awareness-raising efforts and your positive attitude. That’s the example I was looking for out of this whole story.

  9. Vox Daily is so much about the good people in the business. I find it a remarkable blog. I look forward to it every day. This story, I think, is an example of how “The Rest of the Story,” could end up being more important than the original story. Ted’s fame could mean so much more as a means to focus on the charitable institutions that take of societies discarded.

  10. Great blog about this, and I am glad to see people focusing on the real issues here. I find it amazing that people are shocked when socially (and actually) outcast people turn out to be talented.
    As with any big story such as this there will inevitably be a certain amount of bandwagon jumping, but it is good to see the plight of the homeless in general being brought to notice. Ted Williams could not only do a lot of good for himself, but to the unfortunate people of the streets also, even if it is only an increased respect.

  11. Cal,
    I think Ted would be the first to acknowledge that he did not spend years on the street because he was one of thousands of radio personalities who lost their job due to the rapid change from analogue to digital resulting in the likes of Comcast and network radio. It is his falling into addictions that prevented him from practicing his craft. It is this dilemma that he has dealt with in his own way, and the future will hopefully tell a story of redemption that we can all grow from. In my opinion, this is and will continue to be the big story.

  12. Mr. Ted Williams may have fallen off the wagon 20 yrs ago, but he wasn’t set up for failure because what was meant for his bad was really meant for his good…..We fall down, but we get up…..It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a homeless man for 20 yrs didn’t need an evaluation and treatment for substance abuse. Healing has to start on the inside so its left up to Mr. Williams to keep it moving regardless if dirt is thrown on him because when his journey called life ends dirt will be thrown on him again.

  13. Yes! This story is about redemption and I wholly commend the submitting of it. Very kind. Life flourishes through redemption.


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