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Albert Lexie (1942–2018), shoe-shine man gave his tips to children’s hospital

by Kirk Fox

Donated more than $200,000 to help “my kids” at children’s hospital in Pittsburgh.


Albert Lexie shined shoes two days a week at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh from 1981 until he retired in 2013. He dropped out of school in eighth grade and started working as a shoe-shiner. The hospital said he earned about $10,000 a year, donating over $200,000 in tips. He donated his tips to the hospital because he wanted to help the children feel better. The money went to the free care fund to help those who did not have adequate health insurance.

Lexie’s generosity gained him notoriety, he appeared on “Oprah,” and was honored at a MLB All-Star game. He won many awards and is a member of the Hall of Fame for Caring Americans. The hospital published his biography in 2002. “Albert’s Kids: The Heroic Work of Shining Shoes for Sick Children,” is available for a donation to the free care fund.


We invite you to share condolences for Albert Lexie in our Guest Book.

Died: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 (Who else died on October 16?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 76, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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Notable Quote: “I wanted to see the kids get well, to see they got well and got better and things like that. … I made myself happy.” —Lexie told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2013

What people said about him: “He was quite an inspirational human being. He wasn’t a minute early or a minute late. Though he had learning disabilities, he really was a wizard with numbers” and would hold court on everything from sports to politics during lunches with the CEO and doctors. “I think in many ways he really taught us what our ultimate goal was and that was to help children.” —Dr. Samuel Kocoshis worked at UPMC Children’s Hospital in the 1980s and ’90s

“The hospital community is sad, but we have such fond memories of Albert and we know his legacy is going to live on. He’s a perfect example of how just small, incremental acts of kindness can have a really significant impact over time.” —Hospital president Christopher Gessner

The hospital made a tribute video for Albert:

Full obituary: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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