PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The staff and families at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh are dealing with the loss of a beloved friend.
Albert Lexie, also known as the “Shoeshine Man,” died Tuesday at the age of 76, the hospital confirms. He was from Monessen.
Lexie was a philanthropist who spent 30 years walking the halls of Children’s Hospital, shining shoes and donating all the tips back to the children.
Children’s Hospital says Lexie raised more than $202,000 for the Free Care Fund at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.
The hospital’s full statement on Facebook reads:
“He was a true legend, an inspiration to millions, and a friend to us at Children’s. Albert committed his life to raising money for the hospital’s Free Care Fund by donating all the tips he earned from his one-man shoeshine business to help ensure that no children from the region go without the care they need. Since he started in 1982, Albert raised more than $202,000 for kids at Children’s. Albert always said, ‘Jerry [Lewis] has his kids and I have mine. And mine are at Children’s Hospital.'”
Lexie would visit Children’s Hospital every Tuesday and Thursday. He would take the 5:50 a.m. bus from Monessen and get to the hospital at 7:25 a.m. “He would then begin his day by picking up his purple shoeshine cart, and set off on his routine — visiting doctors, executives and staff members to shine their shoes,” Children’s Hospital said in a statement.
UPMC Children’s Hospital President Christopher Gessner said: “First and foremost, Albert was our friend. He was a fixture at Children’s Hospital for more than three decades, and his kindness and generosity were and continue to be an inspiration for all of us. He represented the true spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy and the contributions he made to the hospital far exceeded the tips he donated.”
In 2012, Lexie released a book called “Albert’s Kids,” telling stories spanning 30 years of generosity.
Then, in 2013, he retired, but still looked forward to coming back to see his kids.
Children’s Hospital says: “We will miss you, Albert. And you will always be remembered here.”