Shoe Shine Man Shares The Love
Hospital shoeshine who earns just $10,000 a year has donated astonishing $200,000 from tips to sick children over 30 years
- Albert Lexie has been shining shoes in lobby of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh since 1982
- Drives 90 minutes to reach hospital and earns only around $10,000 per year
- Has been donating all tips to the Free Care Fund, which provides care to children, regardless of family’s ability to pay
By BETH STEBNER
He’s been brushing, shining, and polishing shoes for more than a quarter century, earning $5 per shine at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
And now, Albert Lexie is paying it forward, giving the $200,000 in tips he’s earned back to the hospital’s sick children.
The philanthropic shoeshine is using the tip money – and more than a third of his lifetime salary – to help ailing children whose parents could not otherwise afford treatment.
He’s been shining shoes in the hospital lobby since 1982.
He said that one of the hospital’s physicians gave him a $50 bill for Christmas.
All of the extra tips go to the Free Care Fund, which ensures any sick child can get the care they need, regardless of the family’s ability to pay.
Dr Joseph Carcillo said that Mr Lexie has donated more than a third of his lifetime salary to the fund. ‘I think he does it because he loves the kids,’ he told the station.
Mr Lexie has been shining shoes since the 1950s, using the same shoeshine box he built in his high school shop class in the 1950s. He said: ‘It’s good to be a hero.’
According to his biography on the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Mr Lexie drives about an hour and a half to get from his home in Monessen, Pennsylvania to the hospital.
He was honored in 2006 for raising $100,000 for ‘Albert’s Kids.’ At the time, a shoeshine cost $3, and was also honored in 2001, receiving an Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
The Foundation for a Better Life has also featured him on a billboard which read: ‘Donated $100,000 in tips to help kids. Charity: Pass it on.’
The shoeshine also has a children’s book out, entitled ‘Albert’s Kids: The Heroic Work of Shining Shoes for Sick Children.’