Homeless man who returned stolen wallet gets a makeover

by: Jeff Dore Updated:


ATLANTA - Help has been pouring in for a homeless man Channel 2 Action News first told you about Thursday.

Joel Hartman found a foreign woman's wallet in a trash can and went from hotel to hotel to find the owner and give it back. He is now a guest of that hotel.

On Friday, Hartman got another surprise: a makeover.

Channel 2's Jeff Dore caught up with Hartman at Melda's Salon inside the Omni Hotel at the CNN Center downtown.

While the Omni is giving Hartman a room and meals for a week, Nesha White-Lewis gave him a makeover.

Hartman says being homeless doesn't change people's goodness.

"I've been out there for a while, and about 75 or 80 percent of the people I've met would have turned the wallet in," Hartman told Dore.

He's wearing clothes that the Omni, and even some guests, have given him. Just last week, though, he was using a tarp as a home.

"I've got a tarp in my bag upstairs in the room. Yeah, I'm a tarp and sleeping bag guy," Hartman said.

Omni General Manager Scott Stuckey has fielded calls and emails from all over North America and brought them to Hartman. One of those note-writers said Hartman makes her proud to be an American. Some even came with cash.

"It's too much. I have a lot to prove, now," Hartman said.

Now he's thinking about work, about living indoors and getting "out of the gutter."

"(This has) restored a lot of faith in humanity. It really has. I lost that completely," Hartman said.

Hartman told Dore he knows he'll have a lot to think about as he celebrates this Thanksgiving Day in the Omni's restaurant.

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