McDonald's-loving hero comes with a side of controversy
May 10th, 2013
12:10 AM ET
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A golden marketing and do-good opportunity for McDonald's may have lost its luster.

The fast food giant found itself at the center of big news this week in Cleveland, when Charles Ramsey freed three women and a girl who police say were held hostage for years. Ramsey became a viral video star, and in interview after interview, he told TV anchors that he had gone to McDonald's before rescuing the women and rushed to their aid carrying a "half-eaten Big Mac."

Ramsey was immediately lauded as a hero, and thousands of people took to Twitter to urge McDonald's to take action.

"Free burgers for life!" one man tweeted. "It was the best advert you could get - Heroes eat Big Macs," another wrote." Other called for him to star in a commercial and become the next Ronald McDonald.

Read - McDonald's marketing opportunity turns murky

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Filed under: Fast Food • Marketing • McDonald's • News

soundoff (27 Responses)
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    August 11, 2013 at 4:11 am |
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    July 20, 2013 at 6:15 am |
  4. Andrea

    His "criminal" past didin't stop him from helping out when that girl ran to him. He didn't turn away or ignore it. Why bring up the past.

    May 24, 2013 at 6:58 am |
  5. Eric

    I am sickened by this article. This man came to the rescue of these women. God forbid someone has made a mistake or two in their own lives, does that make him any less heroic for the act he performed? Absolutely not. We have come to a cross roads in society where we feel the need to pass judgment on every soul who comes across our screens. It is disgusting. Did anyone consider that this may have evened the score in this man's life? He did bad things, paid the price, but has now been given the opportunity to show he has truly reformed and puts others before himself. When he ran to their aid, he had no idea what he was running into, he could have met perp holding a loaded gun, but instead of second guessing the situation, he threw himself into the mix and saved these young ladies. Who gives a crap what he did wrong, let's focus on this single moment and celebrate those who show, through their actions, that they are selfless and willing to help those in need. Period...we don't need anything else.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
  6. Ann

    We're not talking about Superman here. Being a hero does not mean you have to have a spot-free life. By coming to those women's assistance, Ramsey and the others performed a heroic act THAT DAY. They could have been in a lot of danger if the kidnapper had come home and caught them. Give them credit!!

    May 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Nancy Rudolph

      Couldn't have said it better. Not everybody has Jesus come save them. The bottom line isCharles did the right thing and they are home.

      May 17, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
  7. Maggie

    People are too fast to jump onto things like this before getting all of the facts. First!.

    May 15, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  8. Adam

    I feel bad for this guy. He didn't ask to be in the star light, served his time in jail, and saved three people who were living in a torture chamber. He's a hero. Now leave him alone and get back to the news.

    May 14, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
  9. WBThacker

    A few days after the rescue, I saw a news article claiming this guy wasn't really such a hero; that it was two Hispanic men who led the efforts to rescue the victims, but since they spoke no English, all the reporters interviewed Ramsey who had a secondary role.

    (I'm not vouching for this account. But it's probably not wise to rush to any conclusion.)

    May 14, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • MP

      Well if these "2 hispanics" did not speak english, how then did they even know the situation that was going on? LOL too funny

      May 14, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
      • Buck

        A young girl (or girls) screaming and crying while trying to get out of a house would seem pretty obvious to me regardless of language barriers.

        May 14, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
        • Blah1234

          Angel Cordero initiated the rescue, but his comments didn't have the soundbite appeal that Ramsey's did. The important thing is that the girls are safe now. It's all that matters in the end.

          May 23, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
  10. danielwalldammit

    Yeech! Nothing like an irrelevancy taken to 11.

    May 14, 2013 at 2:28 am |
  11. Buck

    If you think this guy is a character, read what's on the back of the bald guy's jacket. LMAO!

    May 12, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  12. Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

    Just another example of how the mass media inflates, distorts, and convolutes all for the sake of ratings, not to mention the general idiocy of the average viewer with their "free burgers for life" mindset. The man's a hero. He should be awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom, given a tidy reward sum, then left alone to go back to a quiet, normal life. If he can. If he can be left alone.

    May 12, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Spencer R

      Medal of Freedom? Really....that would disregard all the honour that true heroes and people who dedicated their lives to freedom and the societal causes have earned. The day before the rescues, this man was nothing more than a low level wage earner who lived in a neighborhood known for well unemployment and bad vibes (i live in cleveland by the way) and noone gave him any afterthought before. Hero? you need a refesher course on what a Hero really is.

      May 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
      • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

        Any American citizen who commits a heroic act is eligible for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He liberated these women from bondage. Are you saying that this not a heroic act?

        "The day before the rescues, this man was nothing more than a low level wage earner who lived in a neighborhood known for well unemployment and bad vibes (i live in cleveland by the way) and noone gave him any afterthought before."

        You sound jealous there buddy, as if you wish that had been you who had saved them. But it wasn't. It is YOU who needs a "refresher course" on what a hero is, and it's certainly NOT YOU. Get over yourself.

        May 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  13. Christy

    Isn't that the way........someone does something truly, profoundly heroic, and CNN has nothing better to do than dig around in the guy's life, looking for dirt. They do it every damn time, and it's really sickening. If anyone who has lived an imperfect life ever has a selfless impulse and thinks to do something great, better think twice and walk away, lest the eager beavers at CNN decide to investigate you and reveal your every failing to the world. The ultimate insult of this is that the reporter took the information to McDonald's, lest they do something decent for this hero!! Good on McD that they declined to worry about it.

    May 12, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  14. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    This dude is hilarious. Anderson Cooper's interview with him was great. lolz

    May 11, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  15. epj717

    I don't know why this is a thing. What controversy is the author talking about? It's neither written nor implied that he has a dubious past, outside of the title. Change the title for this "article"

    May 11, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • Blah1234

      The controversy comes from the fact that Ramsey wasn't actually the one who initiated the rescue. At least the girls are safe.

      May 23, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
  16. Reggie

    Charles Ramsey saved these ladies lives and they ran a background check on him because he is black. That's crazy!

    May 11, 2013 at 3:28 am |
  17. Edwin

    So he has a past. So what? Last time he was in trouble was 10 years ago. Sounds like he's turned it around.

    May 10, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
  18. .

    So what. Jail time schmail time, he did a great thing.

    May 10, 2013 at 7:33 am |
  19. Big Mac

    "When a pretty little white girl runs into a black man's arms, that's a dead giveaway"

    May 10, 2013 at 6:28 am |
    • abs7125

      Wow Big Mac. Your the only person to mention race. I don't think when this guy heard the screams for help, he even considered what race the person was, who screamed for help. He went with his instinct, and helped save these girls. Shame on you for this pathetic comment. These comments, are what helps destroy, this country. This guy is a hero, period.

      June 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
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