Karen Klein, the elderly bus monitor who recently swept the news after video of her being mercilessly bullied was brought to the public's attention, has finally met the man who raised $662,000 on her behalf (and counting).
According to ABC, she welcomed Toronto native Max Sidorov into her home Tuesday night, where the two discussed how it would be spent, and how they never expected such generosity.
"Nice guy, nice guy," Klein commented. "I'm very appreciative."
She added: "I've never known anyone that's done anything like this. You know? And he's done such a great job, and...everything's just so awesome."
Sidorov said of the situation: "It reinforced my belief that there are so many people, so many good, kindhearted, genuine people out there in the world, and it just inspired me. I want to keep doing this, keep doing good towards other people."
Watch video of the emotional meet-up, via WHAM, below:
The Huffington Post summarizes:
Sidorov, who said he was bullied once, too, felt compelled to act after seeing the YouTube video of Klein being verbally abused by four seventh-grade boys. He set up a page through Indiegogo.com asking for donations to send Klein on the “vacation of a lifetime.” Sidorov’s original goal was set at $5,000. In its first 24 hours, the fundraising campaign eclipsed $125,000.
"I didn't think anyone expected anything like this," Sidorov told ABC...
Klein plans to donate part of the money to support Down syndrome research. She has eight grandchildren, one of whom has the genetic disorder.
Another portion of the nearly two-thirds of a million dollars will go toward home improvements, and to “pay off all my bills so that I can retire," Klein said.
"I almost feel like I don't deserve it," Klein, who has worked for the Greece, N.Y., school system for 23 years, added. "They should be sending their donations to other people that have more problems than I do."
Most of all, she is grateful to Sidorov for turning something painful into something beautiful.
Originally, there were some concern over whether the money would actually reach its intended recipient.
As noted in the video, Sidorov is seemingly trying to raise a bit of money for himself, piggybacking on Klein's wild, rapid success.
After the move was met with skepticism and even ridicule, a third party has stepped in to try to raise money for Sidorov, and has already raked in roughly $7,000.
Case Prince, who started the page, explained: "Maybe we could buy him a new laptop? Or he might even put it towards an anti-bullying cause himself...Let's pay it forward ... We need to encourage all the Maxes out there."