Thursday, November 28, 2013

Doing the Right Thing

Joel Hartman hugs managing director Scott Stuckey
of the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta.
Today is Thursday, November 28, 2013.

Joel Hartman is a 36-year-0ld homeless man in Atlanta, Georgia.  He was digging through the trash to see if he could find anything to eat when he came upon a tourist's wallet with her credit card and  ID inside.  He could have lived on Easy Street, at least for a while, but he decided to do things differently.  He knows he's made some bad decisions in the past, but this time, he made an effort to find the owner.  He went to four different hotels in downtown Atlanta before finding the wallet's owner at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center. He turned the wallet in to security guards, giving them a fake name because he figured nobody needed to know who found the wallet.  It turned out that a French tourist who was in Atlanta to attend a conference had reported her missing wallet to police on November 7. 

Scott Stuckey, the managing director of the hotel, wanted to show his appreciation, knowing that it couldn't have been easy for a starving homeless man to turn in a wallet.  He and his staff went around the streets of Atlanta, talking to homeless people and asking if they knew who might have found the wallet.  Hartman heard he was being sought, so he presented himself at the hotel on November 22, where he got the surprise of his life.   

Stuckey said they were giving him a free stay in a luxury hotel room through the Thanksgiving holiday, free room service, and $500 in cash.  When he was told what the manager planned to do for him, Hartman was speechless.  All he could do was hug the manager and say, "Thank you."  

Hartman told a local Atlanta news station that he had been homeless since March, when his long-time girlfriend died.  He'd been sleeping in the woods in a suburb of Atlanta.  He said that he has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and finds it hard to concentrate on anything for long, but he gets by doing odd jobs.  Hartman says he plans to hop on a freight train to Alaska to look for work after Thanksgiving. 

This is such a great Thanksgiving story, don't you think?  Something to restore your faith in humanity. Best wishes for the future to Joel Hartman, who did the right thing when it was not the easy choice.  And kudos to Scott Stuckey, who also went out of his way to do the right thing. :-)

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