Hotel Rewards Homeless Man with Room, Cash for Returning Lost Wallet

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A homeless man will spend Thanksgiving in a luxury hotel as part of his reward for being honest.


Joel Hartman inspected his room at the Omni Hotel, Nov. 22, Atlanta (Credit: WSB)

Joel Hartman became an Internet sensation when he returned a stolen wallet to the Omni Hotel in Atlanta two weeks ago, according to local media reports.

On Friday he returned to the hotel and claimed his reward.

Here’s how the story came together: Two weeks ago Hartman, 36, was looking in a dumpster outside the hotel for food, when he found the wallet, according to the hotel’s general manager Scott Stuckey.

“He did the right thing, and now I want to do the right thing for this guy,” Stuckey told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The wallet belonged to a woman from France who was staying at the hotel and had been mugged.

Hartman brought it back the day he found it with everything inside, including the woman’s identification and credit cards.

But he didn’t leave his name.  So, hotel managers looked at security photos and shared Hartman’s picture with the local media.

Then someone told Hartman they’d seen him on the news.

“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 told My Fox Atlanta.

On Friday he returned to the hotel, with local reporters in tow, and explained he was just being honest.

“I look at something like that as the opportunity to do the right thing,” Hartman said.

The hotel rewarded him with a free room for five nights through the cold Thanksgiving holiday, room service, and $500 cash.

The Omni also plans to start a fund to help Hartman get back on his feet, according to My Fox Atlanta.