Hotel rewards homeless man after returning woman's stolen wallet


ATLANTA - A homeless man who returned a French woman's stolen wallet was rewarded for his good deed Friday night.

Channel 2 Action News first told you about Joel Hartman Thursday, who found the woman's wallet in a trash can, and returned it to the Omni Hotel at the CNN Center where she was a guest.

He returned to the hotel Friday after learning they were looking for him and Channel 2's Liz Artz was there as the hotel rewarded Hartman in a big way.

Hartman became an overnight sensation after the general manager at the Omni hotel released surveillance video of the 36-year-old homeless man returning a guest's wallet he says he found in a dumpster while digging for food.

Artz was with Hartman as he walked into his home for the next five days. Omni General Manager Scott Stuckey is thanking him with a room through the cold snap and Thanksgiving holiday.

"That feels a little bit better," Hartman said.

Hartman said Thursday night he slept in the woods in Duluth. He told Artz how he's been homeless for a year now and hasn't always been the best citizen.

"I've been a bad guy before. Drugs and alcohol will do that to you," Hartman said.

He couldn't take life anymore he said after losing a longtime love.

"Some really lowdown, dirty stuff. I said, 'Forget it. I'm gone. Packed a bag and left," Hartman said.

His bag now sits next to a cozy bed in a high-rise hotel room where he was treated to room service and $500.

"It's just for doing the right thing," Hartman said. "Maybe someone will see this, totally drugged out stuff, like that ugly guy can do something about it. Maybe I can to."

Hartman said when he leaves the Omni he plans to jump a freight train and head to Alaska.

He said he does odd jobs here and there, but suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and has a hard time holding down a job.

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