When someone is in a group, it is often difficult for them to fight against the combined mental pressure of friends and peers. This can sometimes lead to dangerous, or cruel situations. Bullying someone outside the group, for instance, can often spiral out of the individual bully’s control, as they seek to outdo each other.
One elderly woman experienced this group bullying firsthand. Not only was she bullied, but the bullies, proud of what they did, posted the entire episode on Facebook.
But the bullies did not get the reaction they thought. Instead of amusing their friends, people around the world rallied to the defense of this poor woman, and one Canadian man enlisted their help to make it right in a big way.
68-year-old Kara Klein was working as a bus monitor for a middle school when four teens started to mercilessly bully her on the way home from school.
In 2012, 68-year-old Kara Klein was working as a bus monitor for Athena Middle School in Rochester, New York. At the time, she had a rough few years; her husband passed away ten years ago, and her son committed suicide years later.
Still, Klein was a fighter, and she enjoyed work. Until one day, a group of teens decided to take their bullying way too far.
For 10-solid minutes, four teens hurled verbal and physical abuse at Klein while still on the school bus.
They were cruel and relentless and videotaped the whole exchange — after
10 minutes of relentless bullying, Klein broke down in tears.
They made fun of Klein’s appearance, calling her ‘fat—–,’ as well as other things. She tried to get them to stop, but the teens only escalated their abuse. They began touching her and poking her to annoy her. At this point, she tried ignoring them, but nothing seemed to work. The kids only got worse and worse. Finally, the children told her that her whole family should kill themselves.
That last jab hit too close to home, having lost her son to suicide years earlier. She finally broke down and cried.
To make it even more terrible, bullies were so proud of what they did, they filmed the whole encounter and posted the footage, titled “Making the Bus Monitor Cry,” on Facebook to amuse their friends.
But when the bullies posted the video to Facebook, they did not get the response they thought they would.
Fortunately, the bullies did not get the response they thought they would. The video went viral almost immediately, with people all over the world rallying to Klein’s defense. Overnight Klein was transformed from a victim to the symbol of the fight against bullying.
That was when 25-year-old Canadian, Max Sidorov, decided to do something good for the elderly woman. Having once been bullied, he knew all too well what Klein had been going through.
“I know how it feels,” Sidorov said in an interview with ABC News. “Nobody should go through that, ever.”
He started a fundraiser for her with the intention of giving Klein an awesome vacation. He set the funding goal at $5,000. But the generosity of people around the world surprised everyone.
Through the compassion of Max Sidorov and over 32,000 others, Klein was gifted with $700,000 to go on a vacation—but she decided to use their generosity to do something even more special.
In the end, Sidorov and over 32,000 people raised over $700,000. More than enough to give Klein the vacation she so rightly deserved.
“I don’t have any words to describe how I feel,” Klein said in an interview with Global News. “It’s really wonderful.”
But Klein was as generous as she was humble.
“You have all inspired me by your acts of love,” Klein wrote on her foundation’s blog. “Together, we will change the world.”
With the $700,000 she began the aforementioned anti-bullying foundation, The Kara Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation, with the goal of ending bullying once and for all.
The bullies ended up getting their just rewards, but all were ashamed of what they had done — in the end, Klein did not even think they were bad kids ‘deep down.’
And as for the bullies? They were suspended from school, required to do community service, and enroll in an anti-bullying program.
All were ashamed of what they had done, however, and issued apologies to Klein personally.
“I wish I had never done those things,” one of the bullies said. “If that had happened to someone in my family, like my mother or grandmother, I would be really mad at the people who did that to them.”
Still, despite her terrible experience, when asked if she thought they were bad kids, Klein had a surprising response.
“Not really,” Klein said in an interview with CNN. “Not deep down. When they get together, things happen. Sometimes worse than other times.”
It is fortunate that some good came of this, stories about bullying does not always end on a happy note. Hopefully, with Klein’s example and her help, the world will be able to stop this from happening to anyone else ever again.
Watch the full story, and Sidorov’s and Klein’s first meeting here.