KATIE ZERR: That regular guy becomes a hero


The guy next door, a neighbor like those we have all had at one time in our life, became a real life hero this week when he came to the aid of a frantic woman.

Charles Ramsey, a restaurant worker who dove into an unknown situation to answer the frantic call for help, has become a national hero for his actions.

Ramsey came to the rescue of Amanda Berry on Monday and that in turn led to the end of a 10-year nightmare for three women and a child.

In a home with blacked out and boarded up windows, the women had been held captive for years by three brothers. These men went about their daily lives, not raising suspicion among their family and neighbors, while they held innocent victims captive.

Hearing Berry’s frantic plea for help, Ramsey pushed aside the fears that many of us would have used as an excuse not to get involved, and ran to her aid. He tried to open the door as Berry pleaded from inside the home, but could not break it open. He began to kick out the bottom panel of the door and with the help of another man, was able to pull Berry and child free from their prison.

His frank and colorful 911 call has become a viral sensation and this regular guy is now being acclaimed as the kind of man others should strive to be.

Within hours of becoming the lead story on the national news market, a viral video star and the top topic on Twitter, Ramsey told CNN that he had trouble sleeping the last couple of nights, not because of new-found fame, but because he had lived so close to the situation for a year and knew nothing. He shrugged off the comments about being the definition of a true hero with the answer “I’m the definition of a man, bro.”

When he was pushed that he was a hero and should receive an award, he told interviewer he is no hero and any award should go the victims and their families.

We as a society tend to use the word hero where it does not belong. We label sports stars or entertainers we admire as heroes. In some cases that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are times when those in the national spotlight come through and prove our admiration is justified, but unless they too display courage in an act that is selfless and extraordinary, they do not deserve the hero label.

Ramsey says he does not deserve it. That is an arguable point.

In the frank manner we have found so endearing about Charles Ramsey, he told a reporter at the scene “Bro, I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms.”

He is known by those who work with him in the restaurant as a man who is calm in the chaos that is food service and gets done whatever is asked of him.

Berry was last seen after finishing her shift at a Burger King in Cleveland in 2003 on the eve of her 17th birthday. The other captives also disappeared from the same Cleveland neighborhood.

Berry, Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, have been reunited with their families because this regular guy set aside any apprehension about becoming involved in someone else’s business and took control.

“You’ve got to put that being a coward and ‘I don’t want to get in nobody’s business,’” he said. “You got to put that away for a minute.”

In a manner in which only a comedian can say just the right thing, Sheryl Underwood of the TV show “The Talk” said we can forget all the pretty Hollywood men we admire, “Charles Ramsey just became the finest man in neighborhood!”

An everyday guy, who came to the rescue of a woman and child in distress, today is a fine and deserving hero.


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