So I laughed! He laughed and then he said, "sounds crazy doesn't it?" Maybe that is why he was seeing me.
As I thought about it some more I think I realized what he was saying. He was humble in that he didn't try doing more crime than he needed to do to get what little he needed. He wasn't out to get rich, just get by. That's kind of humble...maybe. Kind of like a hunter who only hunts when he needs food and then only hunts for what he needs and not excess.
He was kind because he didn't want to hurt anyone he told me. He didn't steal purses from old ladies for example (his not mine) and didn't beat them up or throw them to the ground like some of his fellow criminals. He did allow that maybe he did "harm people emotionally when they found out there money was gone" but other than that he cared about people and never had attacked anyone or caused bodily harm. He was a pick pocket in his past and he felt that was morally superior to more thuggish criminals.
He had a conscience that wouldn't allow him to do certain things that would be harmful as I mentioned above. He even discouraged some of his comrades from doing those mean and abusive things he said. He took a lot of ribbing for his ideas on that from other criminals he said. "They said I was different."
He would much rather hurt himself than someone else he said and had scars to show for it.
A criminal with principal? I avoided his view of himself because my tack was that he had stopped doing criminal behaviors so he wasn't a criminal any more!
Now we just need to find out what he is so he can have a new label.