Entries in Tips (2)


Pittsburgh Shoe Shiner Has Donated $200K in Tips to Children’s Hospital Fund

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) -- Every Tuesday and Thursday before the sun rises, Albert Lexie, 70, arrives at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to begin his rounds.

But Lexie is not a doctor. For more than 30 years, the Monessen, Pa., native has spruced up the shoes of many loyal customers at Pittsburgh Children’s.

He’s a shoe shiner, who doesn’t keep his tips.

Every tip Lexie has ever received since he began shining shoes in 1981 has gone to the Children’s Hospital Free Care Fund, according to ABC News affiliate WTAE in Pittsburgh.  The fund goes toward the care of sick children whose parents cannot afford to pay for medical care.

“Shoe shines cost $5,” Lexie told, “Say if they give me $6, I give a dollar to the Children’s Hospital.”

Over the years, his hard-earned tips have amounted to more than $200,000 for the free-care fund.

“I can raise more,” Lexie said.

Lexie started shining shoes in high school, when he saw other kids making shoe shining boxes: “So what I did was help to build one and put mine together.”

He said his passion for the fund began when he watched a TV anchorwoman he admired covering a Free Care Fund telethon.

“After watching the telethon and Jerry Lewis,” Dr. Joseph Carcillo, who is one of Lexie’s customers, told ABC News, “he wanted to have Albert’s kids, like ‘Jerry’s Kids.’”

Since then, more than one-third of Lexie’s income has gone to the fund, according to Carcillo.

Quite the entrepreneur, Lexie is always looking for ways to raise even more. “He has contests,” Carcillo explained. “If you gave the best tips, you get a bag of candy.”

Lexie recalled one of his biggest tips. “Around Christmas, I had a doctor give me $50.”

Despite the national attention and guest spots on Oprah, Lexie still remains humble, eating and breathing for the children, said Carcillo.

“He thinks only of others.  He’s a role model to us all,” Carcillo said. "He shows us that devotion to others, the joy of children and the joy of giving is greater than the day-to-day things that we think are important.”

In the three decades he’s worked at the hospital, Lexie has become a part of the institution. “Everyone knows Albert,” Carcillo said.

When he’s not pushing his purple shoe-shining cart the hospital gave him as a gift, Lexie said he enjoyed going to concerts and watching The Price Is Right.

Although Lexie is grateful for his hospital patrons, “I wouldn’t mind shining the governor’s shoes or the president’s shoes,” he said.

When asked if he had any hopes for the future, Lexie said, “I just hope the kids get well and do better and do different things."

“Then my life has ended well. I just love the kids.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Six Ways to Survive Being Taken Hostage

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After Jimmy Lee Dykes killed school bus driver Charles Poland Jr., abducted a 5-year-old and held him hostage for nearly a week, the young boy, Ethan, joined the all-too-short list of survivors of abduction.

Retired NYPD detective sergeant and negotiator Wallace Zeins handled approximately 150 hostage cases over his 22-year career. Zeins said he believes Dykes is a prime example of a hostage-taker who took his victim to accomplish a bigger goal.

In an interview with ABC News, Zeins said that all hostage-takers can be classified into four profiles: terrorist, prison inmate, professional criminal and emotionally disturbed person.

“Dykes fell into what we called an emotionally disturbed person,” Zeins said. “He had something that he wanted the public to know. He wanted the biggest audience he could get, and he did. If he wanted to kill his hostage he would have done it in his bunker.”

Zeins calls the first 10 to 30 minutes of a hostage-taking the “panic reaction.” That is the time when most hostages are killed, he said.

Here are his steps to survival if you are ever taken hostage:

1. Remain calm. ”Calmness is contagious, and that’s because nobody else is calm in this situation,” Zeins said. “Keep in mind that you have to acknowledge the hostage-taker’s emotions. Avoid being someone that is proactive and aggressive. Always try to speak slowly, softly and clearly to the hostage-taker. Even the hostage negotiator cannot be judgmental; he must use soothing words.”

2. Be observant and take a mental picture of everything around you. ”Do the doors in the room open inward or out? Put together a description of the hostage-taker and what he’s wearing. Does he have a weapon? Which hand is it in? Is he alone?”

3. Speak only when spoken to. “The hostage has no value to the criminal,” Zeins said. “The hostage is only a tool to get what he wants from the authorities. You should treat the hostage-taker like royalty. Avoid being aggressive, and discard items he would consider a threat. If you speak to the police on the phone with permission, only give yes or no answers. If you are ever in a terrorist situation and have the ‘wrong’ passport to them, keep that hidden and don’t speak about your religion.”

4. Tell the hostage-taker if you need vital medications. ”He doesn’t want a sick hostage, and those are usually the first they release,” Zeins said. “A medical condition can be enhanced by high stress, and the panic could cause the hostage-taker to take extreme action.”

5. Don’t try to escape or be a hero. “His bullet goes 1,200 feet a second, and you only go two feet a second. Don’t try to think that you could physically take that person out. Keep in mind it’s just as much in the criminal’s interest as it is yours to not let a situation go violent.”

6. If the police enter, hit the ground. “Stay low. [The police] are going to (shoot) for the largest body mass — from the waist up.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio