Karen Klein, the New York bus monitor who was captured on film being bullied and harassed by four teenage boys recently, could be a millionaire soon, thanks to the kindness of strangers.
When the video--taken on one of the boys' phones--was uploaded online, it quickly went viral, and one disgusted viewer decided to do something to help the elderly monitor, who is seen on the video crying and trying to ignore the cruel comments hurled at her.
Max Sidorov of Toronto, Canada posted Karen's story, along with the video, on Indiegogo.com and asked users to help him raise $5,000 to send Karen on a dream vacation. What he got instead was $450,000 and counting, and there are still 29 days left for the fundraiser. If enough people spread the word about Karen's story--which is heartbreaking to say the least--she could end up being a millionaire before it's all said and done. Just to put things in perspective, she's been making around $15,000 a year as a bus monitor.
"I think people love to support those in need and stand up for the little guy," Max told WebProNews. "This has made me very happy with all the support and caring coming her way...that is the least they can do for her."
The video, which is around ten minutes long, is almost torturous to watch. In it, four boys torment the 68-year old by calling her fat, ugly, poor, and at one point, one boy even says, "You’re so ugly, your kids should kill themselves." As it turns out, one of Klein's sons did kill himself ten years ago.
Throughout it all, Klein says she doesn't want the boys charged, although police are investigating the boys' actions and haven't released their names since they are minors. She says she does think they should be kept off the bus for at least a year, as well has have their sports privileges revoked for a year.
Now that the story has gone public and the police are involved, the parents of the boys are facing hate mail and threatening phone calls and have apologized themselves for their offspring's deplorable behavior. The bullies have been made to write apology letters, as well. One boy wrote, "I am so sorry for the way I treated you. When I saw the video, I was disgusted and could not believe I did that."
Not only have total strangers raised a ton of money for Klein in light of the events, but Southwest Airlines has offered to fly her and nine of her friends to Disneyland for an extra bonus. Klein and her daughter, Amanda, who has posted on the Indiegogo forum, say they are overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who has given to the cause.
"I have spoken with Max and with Indiegogo and we just want to thank you so much for your support. I am at work now so can't put a picture up yet. We are completely overwhelmed with all the support, so thank you," Amanda wrote.
As for Max, this isn't just a random act of kindness; it is, however, one with a visible payoff, as he can see just how much of an impact his gesture will have.
"I always try to do nice things to people no matter what it is, and to see that it has impacted her life this much, I'm absolutely thrilled!"
He also hopes people will take away something from all of this; namely, kindness.
"I think people should focus on the good coming from this story, and begin supporting local community events, fundraisers, and most of all doing nice things for others," he said. "As they say, love makes the world go around!"