Charles Ramsey, who famously aided in the escape of Cleveland kidnap victims while holding a Big Mac, has been offered free food for a year from McDonald’s.
The fast-food chain got stung after sending out a tweet following the ordeal that mentioned Ramsey. Critics said McDonald’s had capitalized on a tragic situation.
A McDonald’s spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday: “We can confirm that the local owner-operators of the McDonald’s restaurants in Mr. Ramsey’s neighborhood have connected with him and offered complimentary McDonald’s food for the next year.”
But the gesture was made quietly.
“We followed up directly and privately with Mr. Ramsey regarding recognition of his actions,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem told The Times. “Out of respect for the survivors of this harrowing ordeal and the ongoing investigation, we have not shared publicly details of our outreach.”
Ramsey also is set to receive free burgers for life from a group of northeastern Ohio restaurants.
Ramsey, as previously reported, was eating a Big Mac when he heard screams from a nearby home.
“This girl’s kicking the door and screaming, and so I go over there with my Big Mac, and I say, ‘Well, can I help you, what’s going on?’” And she says, ‘I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been in this house a long time. I want to leave right now!’”
Amanda Berry, Berry’s daughter, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were rescued from the home of Ariel Castro, who faces various criminal charges.
McDonald’s tweeted following the incident: “We salute the courage of Ohio kidnap victims & respect their privacy. Way to go Charles Ramsey — we’ll be in touch.”
The fast food chain was soon criticized, with some calling the tweet an ad.
On Thursday, Barker Sa Shekhem said that in addition to the free food for a year for Ramsey, McDonald’s made a $10,000 donation to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the names of Berry, DeJesus, Knight and Ramsey.