The Columbus Dispatch did something unusual this week. When a reporter came across a homeless man with a stunning Golden Age of Radio voice, they did not write a milquetoast profile or use it as a news peg for a series on the plight of the homeless in Ohio. Instead, they made a short, cheap video of the man, Ted Williams, and posted it to their website.
That, in and of itself, didn't seem to do much. But someone then posted the video to YouTube, where it has accelerated faster than almost any video that I've seen. It's received more than four million views in the last day and is the most-watched video on the site today. The man's voice is amazing and Americans love a good redemption story. Williams says in the video that he used to be addicted to drugs but he's been clean for two years now, yet still unable to get a job.
So, Reddit users organized around finding the man a job, actually raising money and coming up with gigs for him. And while all this was going on, Williams himself -- being homeless -- was nowhere to be found. People went out looking for him and eventually he was found, no doubt a little stunned that millions of people on the Internet had suddenly taken an interest in him.
At least today, he's got no shortage of work.