Ted Williams Interview: Alley Walk

A Walk in His Shoes

Dr. Phil walks down an alley on his way to meet with Ted Williams. Ted strolls up the street, a huge grin on his face as he embraces Dr. Phil. When the golden-throated former radio announcer was first thrust into the national spotlight, he sported long disheveled locks and a camouflage hoodie. Now his appearance is more subdued with cropped hair and a black jacket.


"So, you're on a roller coaster ride," Dr. Phil observes once the greetings have been exchanged.

 

"Yes, sir," Ted replies, his famed voice growing heavy with emotion.

 
"Tell me what you're thinking right now."
 

"I don't know what to think. This is crazy.  This is wild. It's exciting. It's a blessing," Ted answers tearfully.

 

[AD]"I've got an agenda. I want to tell you what it is up front: You have a second chance here. What I want to do is help you make the most of that second chance," Dr. Phil explains. "I don't want to just celebrate it with you; I want to help you manage it. This time next year, I want you to be as happy as you are right now."

 
"I'm ready," Ted replies.
 

Dr. Phil and Ted chat as they walk down the alley. The pavement is cracked and strewn with litter. "I thought it was just appropriate to start talking here, because we're on the streets, and this is where you've lived for how long?"

 
"For the past 15 years."

Dr. Phil kicks at a piece of cardboard. "At one point, this was your house," he notes.


"Exactly," Ted responds.


"You've lived in that to fight the elements and get away from it," Dr. Phil says. "Were you hiding in the streets?"

 
"Yes, sir."
 
[AD]"Was it out of shame? Was it out of guilt? Was it out of anger?"

"Guilt and anger," Ted answers. "I just wanted to be by myself."

When Ted says that people didn't trust him in their homes, Dr. Phil brings up a dark part of his past. "But weren't you a criminal?" Dr. Phil asks. "Weren't you a drug addict? Weren't you going to take the money that was given to you on the street and do drugs with it?"

"Yes, I did."

Dr. Phil says he wants to raise awareness about the plight of the homeless and inspire people to have compassion. "How does a woman sitting at a stoplight know whether she can trust someone who looked like you and risk stopping and talking to them?" he asks Ted.

"It's hard," Ted replies. I had a sense of sincerity, a lot of times, when people would give [money] to me, that made them feel like that was a dollar well spent." Ted says that sometimes passerby would scream at him, "Get a job, you damned bum!"

"You wanted a job," Dr. Phil observes.
"That was the purpose of my sign, Dr. Phil. It was in hopes that somebody would give me the time of day to listen to this God-given voice," Ted says.

[AD]"I've read your story. I've heard what your ex-wife said. She said when you had some fame, when you had some success, you got involved with booze, and women and drugs, and you didn't manage it well. Now, you're back again," Dr. Phil points out. "You've got to make this one stick. There's not going to be a third chance."

"I blow this, and I die," Ted declares. "If I let my family down one more time, then I wouldn't expect them to ever give me another chance."

"Let's get a plan," Dr. Phil says. He and Ted head over to The Dr. Phil House to discuss just that.