Detroit family helps 'Uncle Motown', the homeless man with the golden voice

A homeless man was taken off the streets by a Detroit couple - little did they know the gift he would give them.

"I always wanted to be a Temptation when I was a little kid," Mike Waller says. "Then all of  a sudden I started singing and people started listening."

And Florence and Sherwood Robinson will be the first to tell you it is nearly impossible not to listen.

"Twiddly dee tweedly dum." Waller sings. "Look out baby, here I come ..."

They opened their home to Waller, 59, who they now call Uncle Mike and Uncle Motown.

"When he said his nickname was Motown, I could easily see why," Sherwood says.

But Uncle Motown's life hasn't been anything like his soft falsetto. He's been homeless for the past 20 or so years.

"The other places that I worked at, like restaurants and steel plants, they all shut down," he says. "They all closed down and I ended up out there in the streets."  

Alcoholism, a crack addiction and losing bouts with Detroit's fierce winters followed.

"I lost my fingers in southwest Detroit shoveling snow," he says. "They didn't have no [sic] shelters out there so it got real cold one night, and I slept in a car and woke up the next day and I was froze, and they amputated my fingers. I still got five." 

And he still has a song. 

"Carry on my wayward son," Waller sings, "there is peace when you are done ..."

His fortune changed this week panhandling at the Family Dollar on Woodward in Detroit.

"We see him out there and just the other day and it was so cold, it was unbearable,"  Florence says. "When we pulled up he was just shaking. I told my husband we have got to take him home." 

The Robinsons thought twice about inviting him in their home with their children.

"You don't want to open up your doors not really knowing who people are," Sherwood says.

But they felt the potential reward of seeing a man get back on his feet was worth the risk.

"There's no way I could have came home and rested my head knowing that we didn't do anything for him at that time," Florence says.

"Any of us can be in that situation and how would we feel if someone didn't give us an opportunity?" Sherwood asks. "When you feel like somebody can be a certain way, it's almost like judging a book by its cover.

"Sometimes you have to bring that book in open it up and read it."

The Robinsons are convinced Uncle Motown is worth keeping, but it's anyone's guess if he feels it is worth staying.

FOX 2: "What's next for you?"

"I don't know yet," Waller said.

Who knows how many Mike Wallers are in this city?

He is just one lost voice that's been found in the beautiful brokenness that is Detroit.

"It's been a long time coming, and I know that a change is going to come," Waller sings. "Oh yes it will."
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