May 13, 2014 -- Charles Ramsey, the Cleveland man who helped free three kidnapped Cleveland women from a decade-long captivity last year, answered questions today on Reddit, and it appears he's made peace with his instant fame.
Ramsey used the moniker "RealCharlesRamsey" to host an AMA, or "Ask Me Anything," on the site. He described life after the rescue, including unwanted fame, as part of his promotion for his new memoir, titled "Dead Giveaway."
"Have you noticed any changes in regards to people's attitudes in your neighborhood, or Cleveland as a whole in the past year? Do you think the community has come together since the tragedy?" one Reddit user asked.
"Yes. Everybody in my city is smiling as if they hit the lottery. As if their stimulus check finally came in the goddamn mail," Ramsey said.
Ramsey won accolades for helping to free Amanda Berry, Georgina "Gina" Dejesus, and Michelle Knight from captivity in Ariel Castro's home, where they had been kept for close to a decade. Ramsey was Castro's neighbor.
"Was there any indication that Ariel Castro was a monster?" another user asked.
"no. i didn't go to church with him. He was my neighbor. the closest a neighbor could get coming from dif ethnic backgrounds. We weren't playing spades, he wasn't throwing tupperware parties. He kept everything he could do to keep you from asking abotu [sic] what he did in that house," Ramsey answered.
Many people on Reddit thanked or congratulated Ramsey for his bravery in rescuing the girls.
"Just wanted to say thanks for doing the right thing. The world needs more people like you," said one.
Ramsey also gained acclaim in the days and weeks following the rescue for the colorful interviews he gave. A local hamburger chain in Cleveland offered him a year of free hamburgers because he said he was in the middle of eating a hamburger when he went to rescue the women.
"Hey man!!! Huge fan, 1. How often do you keep in touch with the girls? 2. How are they adapting to life now ( like technology and stuff ) 3. How are the free hamburgers??? 4. Do you still do any interviews?" one user asked.
"I see Michelle Knight several nights a week. Her thing is to walk her dog and meet and greet people. My thing is to walk around looking for bad dudes who want to snatch another child. Michelle has a tablet. They keep her up to date with things. She's with Dr. Phil's camp. She's getting emails, responding to them. Knows how to download apps. She's actually created music she wants to produce some day. The free hamburgers were from May 6 and they ended May 8 last year. They gave me $2,000 in gift cards and I handed them out to every homeless person and kid I could find," he said.
Ramsey said he received good advice from fellow Cleveland native Drew Carey, who told him that fame can be enjoyable if you think of it like the theme song from Cheers ("Where everybody knows your name.").
"Sing that jungle in your head and when it starts making sense to you, it won't bother you anymore. The world is your neighborhood now. You're in their heart, you're in their brains," Ramsey wrote on Reddit today.