Charles Ramsey, the quotable "hero" who put down his Big Mac to help rescue three women held captive for a decade in Cleveland, isn't pleased that area restaurants offered him free burgers for life. Ramsey is happy, however, to accept around $10,000 per motivational speech.
Ramsey has signed up with Bruce Merrin's Celebrity Speakers & Entertainment Bureau, the talent agency announced Thursday. The company will arrange speaking engagements, "personal appearances" and "select NATIONAL interviews" for Ramsey, according to a released statement.
"I believe that Charles has a story that will impact audiences lives! His spirit moves me," Merrin said in the release.
"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 the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "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 agency's website boasts that it has booked "every Past President of the United States going back to Ronald Reagan" and "all 7 of the original astronauts." Its website does not currently have a speaker profile for Ramsey.
Ramsey was notably less pleased to be in the public eye when more than a dozen restaurants offered him free burgers for life. McDonald's also quietly offered him free food for a year, a company spokesperson told U.S. News last week.
A statement released on Ramsey's behalf by attorney Patricia Walker said he "wants everyone to know that he does not endorse the consortium of Northeast Ohio restaurants who are offering 'Ramsey Burgers' or who are promoting that Ramsey can receive free burgers from them for life."
A quote attributed to Ramsey, a former restaurant dishwasher, in the May 24 statement says "I never told these people they could use my name for this." His attorney noted that the now-famous Ramsey "has not authorized any merchandise" and does not have a website or any social media accounts.
Scott Kuhn, co-owner of Hodge's, where Ramsey formerly worked, immediately yanked the popular "Ramsey Burger," modeled on McDonald's Big Mac, from his menu.
"The Ramsey burger was named to honor an employee at a time he indicated he would be returning to his job at Hodge's," Kuhn said in a released statement quoted by the Plain Dealer. "It was not developed to generate additional revenue for the restaurant - nor has it," the statement said. "We are saddened to hear that Chuck did not take this - or the offer of so many Cleveland restaurants to give him free meals - in the spirit we intended."
A staffer at Walker & Jock, the law firm that is representing Ramsey, said he hasn't approved any statements since his initial burger rejection. That statement also denounced a low-budget Taiwanese video game that "depicts Ramsey and the alleged captor of the hostages throwing hamburgers at one another."