Albert Lexie got into the business of shoe shining, not only to make money, but to also perform a service for his community. For 32 years, Albert, 71, shined shoes at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC every Tuesday and Thursday, getting up at 3:30am so he could take two buses and arrive by 7:30am. Every tip he received he donated to the facility… a contribution now totaling $220,000 as he retires.
ABC News reports that Albert charged $5 a pop, and placed his earnings into a fund for families who couldn't afford medical care. In his first year, he brought in about $750, but lately, he's been averaging $10,000 to $15,000 annually. Albert has also donated a large portion of his lifetime salary as a shoe-shiner to the hospital.
This probably isn't the first you're hearing of Albert, and though he's heading into retirement, it's not likely the last. Among his many accolades, the Good Samaritan was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Caring Americans by the Caring Institute in 2006, and named one of People Magazine and the Major League Baseball association's "All-Stars Among Us" in 2010. He also appeared on "Oprah" the FOX show "Courage."
In fact, Albert is so famous he has his own Wikipedia page. The brief bio outlines his milestones as a philanthropist, and his unique story as a businessman. He began shining shoes after he built a box in his eighth-grade shop class, and while he didn't graduate from high school, he earned an honorary diploma in 1999.
Anthony Lombardi, former President and CEO of the hospital, calls him a hero.
"He's got such a tremendous heart and is tremendous for those kids," Lombardi told Triblive.com. "Once he got started, I knew he would do it for as long as he could."
As for Albert, his explanation for it all is simple: "It feels good when you do something for the kids."