It’s been a whirlwind two days for Cleveland’s Charles Ramsey, who helped free three women from a decade of captivity on Monday night.
The outspoken, boisterous food service worker has become a YouTube sensation; his interview with a local ABC television station has nearly 1.7 million views. He even has his face emblazoned on “Cleveland Hero” T-shirts, designed by his employer, the downtown restaurant Hodge’s.
But with his new celebrity comes revelations about his personal life. Thesmokinggun.com reported Wednesday afternoon that Mr. Ramsey has been convicted three times of domestic violence and spent time in prison for those offenses, along with separate stints for drug abuse and other crimes, according to court records obtained by thesmokinggun.com.
The website also reported that Mr. Ramsey has apologized to his ex-wife, Rochelle, for the domestic abuse incidents, though she also says he’s failed to pay child support.
His criminal history may or may not be known by those now praising him for his actions on Monday.
His rise to stardom began almost immediately after helping Amanda Berry, Georgina “Gina” DeJesus and Michelle Knight escape their hellish imprisonment allegedly at the hands of three brothers.
He told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday night that he was at home eating a meal from McDonald’s when he heard Ms. Berry scream.
“This girl screamed like a car had hit a kid, which made me stop eating,” he said. “Here I come with my half-eaten Big Mac, and I said, ‘What’s up?’ And she said: ‘I’m trapped in here. He won’t let me out, me and my baby.’”
Ms. Berry gave birth to a daughter during her time in captivity. The little girl, Jocelyn, is now 6 years old.
She’s seeing the outside world for the first time, in large part thanks to Mr. Ramsey.
Even McDonald’s took notice of the Cleveland hero.
“We salute the courage of Ohio kidnap victims and respect their privacy. Way to go Charles Ramsey — we’ll be in touch,” the company wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.
“I tell you what you do, give it to them,” he said during the CNN interview.
“Because if folks been following this case since last night, you been following me since last night, you know I got a job anyway,” he added, just before holding up his paycheck.