US kidnap hero becomes an Internet sensation

CLEVELAND, Ohio (AFP) - The Internet exploded with virtual cheers on Tuesday for the United States dishwasher who helped three young women flee a decade in captivity.

Videos of Mr Charles Ramsey telling reporters how he helped Amanda Berry escape went viral on YouTube, as did a not-safe-for-work recording of his salty 911 call to police who subsequently found two other kidnap victims.

"Bro, I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man's arms," Mr Ramsey told local ABC affiliate WEWS television outside the crime scene, a nondescript two-storey house at 2207 Seymour Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio.

On Twitter, Mr Ramsey's name trended all day on Tuesday alongside the likes of the Dalai Lama, who spoke to United States college students, and Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan who was injured on the election trail.

"Way to go Charles Ramsey - we'll be in touch," tweeted McDonald's, the fast food chain, whose Big Mac he was eating when he heard Berry's cries for help from across the way.

Hodge's Cleveland, a fashionable gastro diner co-founded by food truck pioneer Chris Hodgson, used its Facebook page to salute its suddenly famous "dish technician". "We're extremely proud of our employee Charles Ramsey for not turning his back on the young women. He's a true Cleveland hero," it said, as patrons reacted with pleas that he at least get a raise.

The inevitable Internet memes that popped up on Tuesday included a hip hop Auto-Tune video that sampled Ramsey's "little pretty white girl" line.

A "Charles Ramsey for President" Facebook page, however, barely mustered 50 likes.

The three victims were abducted separately in 2002, 2003 and 2004 but were found together in the home of 52-year-old Ariel Castro.

Castro and his brothers - Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50 - have been detained.

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