Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Homeless man returns wallet, gets Thanksgiving reward

Nov 23, 2013

To view the video related to this story, click HERE.

ATLANTA - A homeless man is being rewarded after he found a wallet and then returned it to its rightful owner.

Two weeks ago, the man found the wallet while digging through a Marietta Street trash can. The wallet belonged to a woman from France who was staying at the Omni Hotel in Atlanta.

Security photos showed the man leaving the wallet at the hotel and then walking away.  After seeing the photos, hotel officials began searching for the man.

"Finding a wallet that contained credit cards and ID that he really could have done anything with, doing the right thing -- and that really I think just fills a special place in everyone's heart," said Scott Stuckey, the Omni Hotel general manager.

Officials showed his picture in the park, in homeless shelters and shared it with the media.

Finally, it clicked. Someone who had seen the picture recognized the man as Joel Hartman.

FOX 5 Atlanta  was there when Hartman walked back into the Omni lobby on Friday afternoon.

"I was riding the bus and this girl that usually rides the same bus as me, she's like, 'I think somebody's looking for you,'" Hartman said.

Hartman said that turning the wallet in is something he believes most people would do.

"I look at something like that as the opportunity to do the right thing," Harman said.

It was an easy decision for a man who has lived a hard life. Hartman said he battles depression and has been homeless for about a year ever since he lost his wife.

"I loved her, loved her like -- nothing else in the world mattered to me except for her," Hartman said.

The Omni Hotel has given him a room through Thanksgiving as well as $500.

The first thing he did with that money was the right thing: he tipped the hotel worker who brought him room service.

The Omni Hotel is working on establishing a fund where people can make donations to help Hartman get back on his feet.

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