Karen Klein talks about the bullying incident in her home Wednesday afternoon. JAMIE GERMANO Staff Photographer
GREECE, NY- The bullied bus monitor from Greece had a chance to say a big thank you in person to the stranger who spearheaded an online vacation fund for her. She's also responding to criticism she's received about how she handled herself when students on her bus ruthlessly bullied her.
Life will never be the same for 68-year-old Karen Klein. In a matter of days she went from being a bus monitor in Greece, NY, to having a PR team helping to plan her appearances on the national media circuit. And it's all because a video went viral last week of four middle school boys taunting and tormenting her on the school bus. That led to a stranger from Toronto, Max Sidorov, starting an online fundraiser for her that's now netted more than $660,000.
"It was just disgusting what those kids were saying," said Sidorov, a financial contributor.
Sidorov has spent the last two days with Klein and both say they're still shocked with the outpouring of support.
"I don't think anyone could've expected that, especially me," said Sidorov.
"To have people share their love like that, and their stories. I feel really bad for a lot of them. A lot of them have been bullied," said Klein.
Sidorov plans to use his sudden fame to take a stand in the anti-bullying movement.
"This shows us that violence spans all ages. It can be kids. It can be adults. It can be elderly ladies," said Sidorov.
Klein says she hasn't thought about being anti-bullying activist, but now she can donate to causes close to her heart.
"I was thinking more my granddaughter's got Down Syndrome and my grandson's got autism. I would contribute to those groups," said Klein.
One thing's for sure, she's decided she won't be going back to work for the Greece School District, and it's not just because of her sudden windfall.
"Well, the things that they've said about me. 'Well she didn't do her job.' It doesn't matter that all of this has come up and it's helping people," said Klein.
Reporter: What would you say to members of the public who are saying you shouldn't be getting this money, you weren't doing your job, you should've been more authoritative?
Klein: That's basically what they're saying I guess. I didn't plan this. This wasn't my idea.
Until now, Karen has only received letters from the boys, and just one that she feels is truly heartfelt. She says she'd like to see them face-to-face now.
Reporter: And what would you say to them when you saw them finally?
Klein: Why did this happen? Why did you do it? I just would like an answer.
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