It is a two hour road trip by bus from Monessen, Pennsylvania to the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Twice a week, Albert Lexie would make that journey to his job as a shoe shiner at the hospital, and for three dollars, he would shine your shoes.
It was upon his passing this past month, the discovery that Lexie had left behind all the tip money he made while shining shoes over the thirty years, an incredible $202,000. The money will go to the children’s hospital’s Free Care Fund to help children that were uninsured or under-insured receive the medical care they needed.
According to Chris Gessner, the hospital president, “He was singularly focused on helping sick kids, he stuck to business. He was a personably, happy man, but he was very focused on shining shoes to help the kids.”
“I think Albert is a symbol of philanthropy and generosity, “he’s the kind of special person that people hope for in the world.” said hospital president, Chris Gessner.
In 1999, his hometown proclaimed “Albert Lexie Day” and the Port Authority of Allegheny County awarded him a lifetime bus pass. He was awarded the Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Citizen in 1997, the Outstanding Philanthropist Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2001 and the National Caring Award by the Caring Institute in 2006. In 2010, Lexie was one of 30 honorees in the 2010 Major League Baseball’s “All-Stars Among Us.”
The Next Leap Forward
Like most businesses that provide a service – if you do a good job, you’ll get a good tip. And if you have a good personality, that will probably net you a higher tip. No matter if you’re a Fortune 100 business, run a home-based business, or shine shoes at a hospital – the attention to detail you put forth will be directly equivalent to your overall success and earned reputation.
Albert Lexie intuitively knew that. It showed not only with his words and his smile, more importantly, it showed with his actions.
The brink of an idea! Instead of focusing on money, focus on how you can make a difference in someone else’s life. How can you make their life easier and richer? Does it improve their quality of life?
If you can connect your product or service to making their life better – then the sale is made. Help people solve a problem and they’ll do business with you. Be sincere, straightforward and honest – even if it cost you money or the sale. Now that can be a challenge for some. Especially if you have to pay the mortgage or buy a loaf of bread.
I guarantee you’ll be rewarded with better relationships than you ever imagined.