Yesterday, you first learned about Karen Huff Klein, the 68-year-old bus monitor who was assaulted, harassed and bullied incessantly by middle school students in Greece, New York. The incident -- captured on video that is almost too unbearable to watch -- is making waves across America. But in the wake of the tragic tale, ironically, an inspiration story is taking form, as caring individuals from across the Internet have raised more than $120,000 for Klein.
Donations continue to stream in from people across the nation who were moved and horrified by what they saw Klein endure. So far, the campaign has raised $313,489 (as of 3:05 p.m. ET) for the bus monitor. The original goal was to provide her with $5,000, enough money to send her on her dream vacation. But, as the story continues to gain national stem, it seems that the total sum is so large that she'll be able to do much more than simply take a trip.
Klein, who was a bus driver for 20 years and who has since served as a bus monitor for the past two and a half years, will surely be astounded by the massive sum of money that is being raised for her. And considering that her yearly salary is estimated at $15,000, this is monumental.
The Indiegogo campaign, which was posted by a fundraiser named "Max S," is still active and it's ticking up quite quickly. While writing this post, the lump sum jumped from $19,700 to over $120,000 within minutes. In explaining why he commenced the campaign, Max S wrote:
As soon as I heard of Karen Huff Klein and what some condom worthy offspring have done to her, I had to create a fundraiser here for this nice lady.
Lets give Karen a vacation of a lifetime, lets show her the power of the internets and how kind and generous people can be.
Karen, you have no idea what's coming!
The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reports that Max's full name is Max Sidorov and that he is a 25-year-old nutritionist from Toronto. After he saw the video on Reddit, he apparently took action.
“I saw the video and really felt for Karen,” he explained. “I have some experience with bullying from when I was young and what they were doing to her was just heartbreaking. The best thing I could think to do was start a fundraiser to send her on a vacation.”
There's no telling how much money Max and other caring contributors will donate to the bus monitor, but the act of kindness and caring is surely evidence that horrific situations can be turned around to do good.
Yesterday, Klein spoke to local outlets in Rochester, New York, telling reporters that, while she heard the children calling her names on the bus, she originally tried to ignore them. She said she didn't realize the extent of how terrible the abuse was until she saw the video for herself.
"It made me feel really terrible, but I will get over it. I've gotten over everything else," Klein told Matt Lauer in an interview on Thursday morning's Today show.
She also said that it took a lot of will power for her to restrain herself during the incident and that the kids "should have been taught to respect their elders."
Currently, questions surround how the children will be punished for the incident. According to school officials, the kids will face disciplinary action in the fall. As for legal ramifications, the Democrat & Chronicle has more:
Greece police Capt. Steve Chatterton said that if criminal charges were filed, it would likely be in Family Court because the youths involved are juveniles. Chatterton said that some potentially serious charges would require that Klein had felt threatened. Klein said Wednesday that she did not feel threatened by the students.
A news conference is planned for Thursday to provide updates on the status of the investigations.
In the wake of the story going viral, Greece Police have expressed fears over the fact that someone posted the addresses of the four children being questioned in the incident online. As of Wednesday, officials said that they were concerned for the students' safety and that they may put officers outside their homes.