Pittsburgh, PA — A shoe shiner has donated over $200,000 in tips to a Pittsburgh’s children hospital.
Albert Lexie has been shining shoes at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh since 1982, but he has been shining shoes in general since the 1950s. He even still uses the same box he built for a high school shop class when he was 15. Lexie originally shined shoes for $3, but the price has recently increased to $5. He said many customers are generous with their tips, often giving one or two dollars.
“Most of them give $6, some of them give $7,” Lexie told Channel 4 Action News anchor Wendy Bell. One Christmas, a doctor gave him a $50 bill, he said.
According to theDaily Mail, Lexie only makes $10,000 a year. But that hasn’t stopped him from giving every penny he has earned in tips over the last 31 years to the hospital.
“I think he does it because he loves the kids,” said Dr. Joseph Carcillo. “He’s donated over a third of his lifetime salary to the Children’s Hospital Free Care Fund.” Money from the free care fund goes to parents who can’t afford to pay their sick child’s medical costs.
“He’s a philanthropist, is what he is,” Carcillo said. “He’s an entrepreneur.”
According to the hospital’s website, Lexie leaves his house at 5:50 am Tuesday and Thursday and arrives at the hospital at 7:25 am to shine shoes. Lexie has also a book called Albert’s Kids: The Heroic Work of Shining Shoes for Sick Children, which details Lexie’s work, and is available for purchase through a donation to the hospital.
“It’s good to be a hero,” Lexie confessed.