KINGSTON -- Hassel Junior Barber lives on the streets of Kingston by choice. He sleeps in doorways and on stoops.
And, police say, he's an honest man.
Barber found a wallet plopped down on a sidewalk Sunday in the Hudson Valley city. Inside: $485. Money, Det. Lt. Thierry Croizer said, that Barber certainly could have used for food, shelter, clothes.
Instead, the 50-year-old homeless man marched the wallet to the police station and turned it in. No reward needed.
"He told us that he did not want anything in return," Croizer said Wednesday. "That he did it because it was the right thing to do, and those are his words, 'the right thing to do.' " In a tough town sometimes scarred by serious crime, Croizer said he wanted to publicize a "feel good" story, and hopes people learn the same lesson he did when he dealt with Barber on a new level.
"It made me re-evaluate my perception of people, my first instinct, when I first observe someone," Croizer said.
The wallet's owner was surprised and "very thankful," Croizer said.
Barber told the Times Herald-Record of Middletown: "I looked at the wallet and I seen money. I didn't bother to count it. It wasn't mine. I didn't want it." Within hours of posting the story on the department's Facebook page, Croizer said the phone was ringing constantly with offers of help for Barber. He politely declined.