Since 1982 Albert Lexie has been shining shoes in Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital. The basic shine is $5, but happy customers give him $1 or $2 extra. Some give him a lot more. The tips all go to one cause: assisting families who cannot afford to pay medical costs for their children.
In 2008, when the video below was made, he had raised $110,000. In February 2013 that total reached $200,000.
Each week Lexie donates several hundred dollars to the Children’s Hospital Free Care Fund. He has been doing that since he learned there were children whose families needed help. Dr. Joseph Carcillo told WTAE News that Lexie has donated over a third of his lifetime salary to help the children.
The WTAE video calls him a guardian angel, "one person changing one life a dollar at a time." Albert Lexie is a gentle soul who is all goodness, beloved in the hospital where he finds joy and meaning, admired wherever people learn of his story.
Lexie has learned the secrets of a good life. He does work that gives meaning to his days, and he understands there is no more certain path to happiness than a life of service.
You don’t have to be in Pittsburgh to leave a tip for “Albert’s kids”. Children’s Hospital has a Web page devoted to the gentle hero. Anyone making a donation of $20 or more receives a copy of Albert’s Kids: The Heroic Work of Shining Shoes for Sick Children.
Thanks for the tip, Michael Dahl. You were so right to think I’d love this story.