Omni Hotel seeks homeless man for Thanksgiving stay and $500 reward

There is a feel-good Thanksgiving story making the hotel news this week. Omni Hotel at CNN Center Atlanta was seeking a homeless man who was searching trash cans looking for food in downtown Atlanta on November 7. He found a woman’s wallet with credit cards and an identification card for Anne Drouart of France. John Crabber went to several hotels in the area seeking to return the wallet to its owner. The Omni Hotel at CNN Center was where the French woman was staying.

Anne Drouart was a guest at the Omni hotel while attending a nephrology conference. She said she had been walking to her car on November 7 when she was pushed and her bag stolen.

Omni Hotel at CNN Center was looking for John Crabber since the November 7 incident to offer him a $500 reward, a Thanksgiving meal and an overnight stay.

Omni at CNN Center released video surveillance footage of the man returning the wallet to the hotel to local TV news stations in its effort to locate him for the Thanksgiving stay and reward.

Despite their efforts, the Omni hotel was unable to locate John Crabber, whose real name is Joel Hartmann.

Joel Hartmann showed up at the Omni Hotel a couple of days ago. When he returned the wallet he saw no need to give the hotel his real name. Last night he stayed at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center where he will be a guest through Thanksgiving.

Joel Hartmann, 36, shared his story that he has been homeless since March when his girlfriend died and he kind of gave up on society. He had slept in the woods one night this past week and the last time he had a shower was a forgotten memory.

The local hero will receive $500 and some new clothes, food and a room at the Omni for this week.

He said not worrying about his 90-pound bag of possessions being stolen while he is staying at the hotel is a welcome relief.

His act of kindness, broadcast across Atlanta and now much of the country and international news sources, may be the catalyst to a better life for Joel Hartmann.

Happy Thanksgiving.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined in 2008.

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  1. Great story indeed. However, wouldn’t it be better if Omni offer this man a job in the hotel? Frankly, many hotel workers may not be as nice as him. Just my 2 cents.

  2. Great story Ric!

    I think it is great that the Omni is giving him a free room, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised if this ended up in someone trying him for a job.

    Though he says he gave up on society, I think it is obvious he hadn’t totally given up or else he wouldn’t have gone to so much effort to return the wallet. Definitely better than those just looking for a handout. I hope this helps him re-engage.

  3. Ric,

    Nice story!

    I have contacted the hotel to offer services; please email me if you are able to connect with the hotel.

    All my best and Happy Thanksgiving!

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