Nightly News   |  December 17, 2013

Shoe shiner retires as hospital philanthropist

Since 1981 Albert Lexie has given all of his tips to the Free Care Fund at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh – a shining example of true service. NBC’s Ron Mott reports.

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>>> finally tonight, the story of a man who has been an inspiration to so many people while quietly spending his life giving away a jackpot of his own. in other words, making a difference quietly when no one was watching. we get his story tonight from nbc's ron moth in pittsburgh .

>> reporter: before dawn albert lexy finishes an hour-long bus commute, grabs a quick bite, gets ready for another day at work.

>> here you go.

>> reporter: a labor of love and sacrifice for this 71-year-old volunteer at children's hospital of pittsburgh . for people who like their shoes perfectly polished, what's the key? what's the secret?

>> the secret is just keep your shoes nice and clean, that's all.

>> reporter: since 1981 albert has polished thousands of pairs. what does it cost for a shoeshine?

>> $5.

>> reporter: five bucks.

>> yeah. anything goes over $5 goes to the children's hospital.

>> reporter: giving all his tips to the free care fund so families with sick kids and low incomes can get treated here.

>> 20 bucks.

>> having somebody like albert out there that you know is working tirelessly for those same kids, it really -- it elevates you.

>> i want to give you this for the last time here.

>> reporter: and after 32 years working two days a week the shoes and the tips have piled up. in 1982 albert donated $750. last year alone more than $11,000 and in all $202,075.56.

>> pay me.

>> there you go.

>> thank you, albert .

>> thank snow he's become a fixture of philanthropy in these halls.

>> what someone like albert has done with what he has, and you just have to ask yourself, you know, why can't i do more?

>> reporter: a shining example, say customers, of true service.

>> he represents what we should be like. we often say he puts us to shame when it comes to giving and caring.

>> reporter: today his last. eyes were moist. shoes glistening as usual, a fitting farewell polishing off a humble career that's paid off richly in many ways. ron moth, nbc news, pittsburgh .