He spent 30 years shining shoes — and raised more than $200,000 for sick kids

The most wonderful thing about kindness is that it does not come with a price. You do not have to be rich to spread kindness because kindness itself is not costly. All you need to spread kindness is a compassionate heart that feels happy and at peace knowing that you have helped others.

Albert Lexie, a 76-year-old shoeshiner from Monessen, Pennsylvania showed to the world that even a man who is not earning 6 figures can make a positive difference in the life of other people.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, Albert Lexie would shine shoes at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The goodhearted man did this for 30 years until he death took his life at the age of 76 years old.

Before death took his life, Albert was able to donate the money he collected in tips to the hospital to support sick kids. As of February 2013, the collected tips Alber which he donated reached more than $200,000!

“I think Albert is a symbol of philanthropy and generosity,”  The hospital president, Chris Gressner, shared his thoughts about the deceased Albert on CNN. “He’s the kind of special person that people hope for in the world.”

Since the year 1982, Albert had been shining shoes at the Pittsburgh hospital. Every Tuesdays and Thursdays, Albert would leave his home at exactly 5:50 in the morning to board the bus to Pittsburgh from his home in Monessen, Pensylvania. The long journey would often take two hours of Albert’s time, but he did not mind it.

Charging $3 for a shine, it does not take a math genius in order to know that he did not make much money. In fact, Albert did not even make $10,000 a year. Yet his meager income did not stop him from sending the tips he earned to the Free Care Fund. Albert did this in his strong desire to help support uninsured or under insured children receive the medical care they badly need.

“I noticed half the people were all without shoes. When I asked what’s going on, they said, ‘It’s Albert. He’s out in the hallway cleaning shoes.'” Mr. Gessner recalled the first time he met the selfless Albert. According to the hospital president, he walked into a meeting and was surprised to see people who were not wearing their shoes. As it turned out, Albert’s shoe-shining business was very in demand to the people in the hospital.

“He was singularly focused on helping sick kids,” Mr. Gessner added, explaining how much Albert desired to help the socially disadvantaged sick kids. “He stuck to business. He was a personably, happy man, but he was very focused on shining shoes to help the kids.”

Albert’s selfless and generous act of kindness is no secret. In fact, the good Samaritan was awarded with the Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Citizen in 1997, the Outstanding Philanthropist Award in 2001, and the National Caring Award in 2006.

Aside from this awards, Albert was also a part of the 30 honorees in the Major League Baseball’s All-Stars Among Us in the year 2010. In addition, Albert’s selfless act of kindness was recognized by the Port Authority of Allegheny County and he was given with a lifetime bus pass to cover for his bus expenses.

To top it all, in the year 1999, his hometown even proclaimed an Albert Lexie Day! 

And last March 2012, a biography entitled Albert’s Kids: The Heroic Work of Shining Shoes for Sick Children was published by RoseDog Books and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation in order to inspire other people about Albert’s admirable feat.

“We will miss you, Albert. And you will always be remembered here.” The staff and kids at the Children’s Hospital who have witnessed Albert’s kindness shared, expressing how much they loved Albert.

Without a doubt, the heavens sure gained another angel. May Albert’s selfless act of kindness remind each and every one of us that kindness is free and compassion is not expensive. And if Albert’s social status, meager income, and long journey did not stop him from being a ray of sunshine to other people, then why let these factor stop you from spreading kindness?!

Watch the video below and learn more about the kind Albert Lexie, the shoeshiner who shared all of his tips with the socially disadvantaged and sickly children. Surely, his story will touch your heart!

Photos and Video | UPMC Chidlren’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

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