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I want to love everything about the feel-good story of Ted Williams, the Brooklyn-born panhandler with the "golden radio voice" who has rocketed to stardom in a matter of hours ... but I sure hope he's got some trustworthy people in his corner, because everyone's looking to make a buck off this guy.
The Today Show devoted airtime today to Ted and his (surprisingly well-preserved!) 90-year-old mother Julia Williams, after the two of them were reunited yesterday afternoon. The mother and son hadn't seen each other for 20 years, but feuding morning shows reportedly delayed the moment even further as they battled over who would get the rights to capture the footage.
A Today producer said Williams and his mom had been booked for NBC interviews on Thursday, but CBS supposedly intercepted Julia since they wanted no contact between mother and son until their morning shows had concluded. CBS responded by saying that it was NBC who had caused the delay:
"When NBC learned of our intentions to bring Julia to the airport (Wednesday night) to meet her son, they told us that they would not let them reunite even if it meant keeping Ted and Julia apart for days and that the reunion had to happen live on their show."
Julia Williams arrived at LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday night, but Ted "was whisked away by another media outlet" before the two could meet.
In the end, it was The Columbia Dispatch who intervened and helped bring the pair together. Fitting, since the Dispatch is the media outlet who started this whole rollercoaster after posting the now-famous video of him demonstrating his voice skills by the side of the road.
Here's the raw footage of Ted meeting his mom for the first time. I know he's a grown man who's had plenty of troubles, but I cried like a big wiener when I saw him walking in saying, "Mommy, Mommy."
It will surely take some work for these two to mend fences. Williams fell into drug and alcohol abuse in 1993 and found himself sleeping on the streets and in homeless shelters, refusing to visit his mother even during holidays.
“I always wished him well, but he would always brush me off,” Julia said. “He pushed me out of his life, and it made me feel very bad.”
I'm crossing my fingers this story has a happy ending, with Ted maintaining his sobriety and navigating his 15 minutes in the way he wants. It's ironic that just days ago, he was the one asking for money—now everyone's got their hand out in his direction.
Do you think Ted Williams will benefit from all this attention ... or will it ultimately negatively affect him?
Image via YouTube