Restaurant Hawks Charles Ramsey T-Shirts, But ‘Cleveland Hero’ Has Checkered Past

All proceeds will be given to the families of the three victims

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Charles Ramsey has become an internet celebrity after helping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight escape Monday evening from a home near downtown Cleveland where suspect Ariel Castro allegedly held them captive for about a decade.

Ramsey went on to do an interview on local TV that went viral and got the auto-tune treatmentMcDonald’s gave him a thumbs-up on Twitter for talking about eating Big Macs when he noticed there was trouble, and now Hodge’s Cleveland, the restaurant where the 43-year-old man works as a dishwasher, has made t-shirts with his name, face and “Cleveland’s Hero” plastered on the front:


(MORE: Captive in Cleveland: 5 New Things We Know and 5 We Still Don’t Know)

The tees are available online for $20 each via onpoint store, and Hodge’s Cleveland is donating all of the proceeds to the victims’ families. The restaurant purposefully decided not to sell the tees in the restaurant so that it could “focus on raising funds for victims not foot traffic at restaurant,” according to its Twitter. It also says the t-shirt company is the same one that made the Boston Strong t-shirts.

While Ramsey has been touted as a local hero in the Cleveland abduction case, his actions have not always been heroic. The Associated Press reports that he served time in jail in the late 1990s for domestic violence. First charged with domestic violence in February 1997, and then in August 1998, Ramsey was “ordered to serve six months in jail, placed on five years probation, and directed to attend a domestic violence counseling program,” The Smoking Gun reports. Less than a year later, he violated probation terms. Ramsey got divorced from his wife in 2003 after a felony conviction for “battering his wife”  (for which he pleaded guilty) and then spent eight months in prison at the Lorain Correctional Institution.

MORE: The 911 Call That Led to the Cleveland Women’s Dramatic Escape

LuisBoki 1 Like

Having been a victim of domestic violence, I can see that Charles Ramsey definitely has a streak that indicates he may have been capable of committing acts in the past. At the same time, I am sympathetic to the fact he has served ample time and everyone deserves a second chance. If you recall, he did say that partially what motivate him to help is the threat of domestic violence which indicates some form of redemption on his part. I am in no position to judge and trust that he has learned his lesson. Therefore, one thing doesn't necessarily relate to the other. Let he without sin, caste the first stone......


Boo!  Who wants to hear this.  Shame! What sad cynicism feels the need to punish a good deed?  That he has a checkered past, one that probably might have taken more than a day to pop up on the internet had he not been black, makes his actions all the more remarkable.  His lesson to us is that we can all be a hero where we stand, regardless of what we've done in the past, regardless of who we are, we can make a decision in the present to do good.

MsMorgan113 2 Like

Had this man never saved these women, his "checkered past" wouldn't even be relevant nor would it be considered "news." Take this trash off the web. 

stanthrax814 2 Like

Shame on you! It is people like you that ruining this world. You are a negative person. People commit crimes, go to prison and pay their debt to society. That how it works. Now, YOU are talking out of your As trying to bring to light a checker past? You make me physically ill.

ColinMW 2 Like

Olivia please go back to "The Daily Meal"... You don't belong at Time! Your stories or just absolutely horrible!

chrisfitzz 2 Like

Good work Olivia. Now go apply to Fox, you hack. Having said that good for Charles getting the recognition he deserves. He is a true hero.

dariopy 3 Like

WTF is the point of this article? 

miller 2 Like

To the journalist Olivia and newspaper, if theses were your daughters or yourelf  he rescued would you be praising Mr Ramsey or writing such rubbish. Give the man a break. The next hero with a  'chequered' past might not bother because of you!!!!!!!

Give him a heros welcome, please.

Paolucci 2 Like

Dont understand the purpose of this article. Why drag his past out? He's obviously a better man than he was a decade ago and that is all that matters to me. 

MangoChutney 1 Like

Charles Ramsey did the right thing.

Olivia B. Waxman did not.

cjnkira 1 Like

Redemption is something we are supposed to believe in, and I believe this man has found it.  The past does not equal our present or our future, and the media, as usual, sensationalizes to sell trash

csendegeya 2 Like

Rubbish...the dude has done something good. Why on earth go looking for skeletons of the last decade?

TroyBayer 1 Like

You just had to report on his past didn't you. Couldn't just talk about the here and now. So much for paying for your crimes and being able to move on, not while their is a media out there that never forgets and feel it crucial to a story to bring up something from nearly 15 years ago. Well done

RobinKardokus 1 Like

Who didn't take one look at this dude and think he possibly has a checkered past. But SO WHAT! Why put in a headline "but hero has a checkered past". His past is a moot point. 

jakemd27 is right. Actually, Charles is an example of how people aren't all good or all bad.

jakemd27 1 Like

One's supposed to be able to serve his/her term and move on with his/her life, but with old news being drug up constantly and used as a permanent barometer for one's character, society perhaps has made offenders unable to be re-integrated into society by being unwilling to re-integrate them in the first place?