Charles Ramsey, the man who gained global recognition after he helped rescue three women who were allegedly held prisoner for a decade in a Cleveland home, has signed a deal to join the celebrity speaking circuit where he could earn as much as $10,000 per appearance.
“Charles’ story touched my heart,” said Bruce Merrin, head of the Las Vegas speakers bureau that Ramsey signed with, in a statement. Merrin says that he decided to approach Ramsey after seeing him tell his story on CNN. “Charles Ramsey is a true hero to me. I admire and respect him,” Merrin added.
Ramsey’s rise to fame began on May 6, when he related on TV news how he helped rescue Amanda Berry – last been seen in 2003 at age 16 – from the house of his neighbor Ariel Castro. It’s alleged that Castro kidnapped Berry, along with Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight, who were 14 and 21 at the time of their disappearances, and kept them captive for 10 years.
And although some of Ramsey’s account of the rescue has been disputed, his vivid description of how he put down the McDonald’s Big Mac he was eating and rushed to help a girl who was screaming from inside Castro’s house quickly went viral, even spawning an autotune remix.
Despite a slew of unofficial Ramsey merchandise, including t-shirts and an action figure, he had thus far largely avoided cashing-in on his newfound fame, saying that he hadn’t given permission for his name or likeness to be used on any products and refusing offers from a group of 14 local restaurants to endorse their burgers. (He has also been offered free McDonald’s hamburgers for a year.)
Merrin told Cleveland.com that he hasn’t arranged any speaking engagements for Ramsey yet, but he expects that he would speak at trade conventions, corporate functions and possibly “meet and greet” public appearances. As for what Ramsey might speak about, apart from telling the story of Amanda Berry’s rescue, Merrin told Cleveland.com: “I see this presentation speech being a little bit short when he does tell his personal story, and then a lot of Q&A.”
The new career could be life-changing for Ramsey, 43, who works as a dishwasher. “The kind of typical speaking engagement we do would be in the $10,000 range. Some might be less, some might be more,” Merrin told Cleveland.com