PITTSBURGH (AP) – A part-time shoeshiner who donated more than $200,000 in tips over 30 years to a Pittsburgh children’s hospital died early Tuesday.
Albert Lexie died of an undisclosed health condition, according to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center officials. He was 76.
Every Tuesday and Thursday for more than three decades, Lexie left his home in Monessen around 5 a.m. to shine shoes at UMPC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh over 30 miles away. He donated his tips to the hospital’s Free Care Fund, which helps support under and uninsured children in western Pennsylvania.
Lexie gained national acclaim as his donations grew. He made an appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and he was honored at a Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Monessen High School gave Lexie an honorary diploma and a class ring on what the man’s hometown declared as “Albert Lexie Day” in 1999.
Lexie was given the 1997 Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Citizens, and he was later added to the Hall of Fame for Caring Americans in Washington, D.C.
He told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette upon his retirement in 2013, “I wanted to see the kids get well … I made myself happy.”
UMPC Children’s Hospital President Chris Gessner said Lexie was an “inspiration for us all.”
“He’s a perfect example of how just small, incremental acts of kindness can have a really significant impact over time,” Gessner told the Post-Gazette.