Karen Klein’s story is hard to forget. She was 68 years old when the following pictures were taken. At that time, she was working for the Greece Central School District in New York. She started out as a bus driver before becoming a bus monitor.
One day, while on the bus, a group of seventh grade boys shot a video while harassing, teasing, and insulting the bus monitor. Karen tried to defend herself but the boys’ vicious words brought her to tears.
In the video, the boys make comments on her appearance, claiming that her family members probably killed themselves to avoid spending time with her. Karens son had committed suicide 10 years before.
Karen tried desperately to defend herself, but after a few attempts she was unable to go on: tears rolled down her face and she broke down. This did not stop the students from continuing their attacks.
To take the the cruel act one step further, one of the boys proudly posted the video to Facebook. Warning: This video is extremely upsetting.
But then something incredible happened: the video spread like a wildfire and was uploaded to YouTube. The reaction was certainly not what the boys had expected: all over the world, people were horrified to see how these boys had bullied Karen.
One of these people was Max Sidorov, who was living in Toronto at the time. He had experienced similar bullying as a child, and was moved to help Karen. He started a campaign with fundraising site Indiegogo, writing: Lets give her something that she will never forget: the vacation of her life! At first Max wanted to raise 5,000 dollars. But an astounding wave of support flooded the campaign!
More than 32,000 people from 84 countries (including people from all 50 states in the U.S.) donated. Countless celebrities expressed their sympathy. In the end, a staggering $700,000 were raised! Karen Klein was overwhelmed by the support, and could hardly believe what had happened. Staying true to her unassuming and kind nature, she used $100,000 as seed money to establish the Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation, which has promoted its message of kindness at concerts and through books. She saved the rest of the money for retirement.
Bullying is unacceptable, and the amount of support that this woman received is truly remarkable. Karen Klein finally got what she deserved: a quiet and peaceful life.
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