I’ve written blog posts about bullying a few times now, and, while researching the subject, I’ve come across a fair amount of heartbreaking stories. But I have to say that a recent incident (brought to my attention today) is by far the worst. After watching the now-infamous video (embedded below) of 68-year-old grandmother Karen Klein being bullied by a group of adolescent boys—and after wiping away my tears—my first reaction was that I would give anything for the chance to beat these kids to a pulp.
The 10-minute video shows a group of students viciously insulting and taunting Klein during her shift as a school bus monitor. As if calling her “fat” and “poor” weren’t enough, their bullying escalates to an unimaginable level:
They ask her if she has herpes.
They say that if they stabbed her, Big Macs would fly out of her stomach.
They ask for her address so they can “piss all over her door.”
They tell her she has no family because they all killed themselves so they wouldn’t have to be near her.
They ask if she’s crying because she “misses her cookies.”
And when she suggests through her tears that “unless you have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” one kid instantly retorts, “How about you shut the f**k up.”
Watching these degenerates verbally torture another human being to the point of tears ignited such a level of rage in me that it seemed perfectly reasonable to want to beat them senseless. And it took much longer than it should have to clue in that my violent thoughts were actually bringing me down to their sinister level.
Luckily, Max Sidorov, a 25-year-old from Toronto, Ontario, had a much better handle on his gut reaction after stumbling across the video. And, more importantly, he had a far-more-intelligent and compassionate idea.
As a previous victim of bullying himself, Sidorov’s heart went out to Klein, and he decided to take a proactive stand by bringing awareness to her circumstances and helping her escape the horrible treatment she receives at her job. On June 20, he set up an online fundraising campaign in order to raise funds for Klein to take a well-deserved (to say the least) vacation. His Indiegogo web page displays the vile video, gives a brief explanation of the circumstances, and finishes by stating:
“She doesn't earn nearly enough ($15,506) to deal with some of the trash she is surrounded by. Let’s give her something she will never forget, a vacation of a lifetime!”
As I write this, the current donation amount is sitting at $350,496, which has brought me to tears again—happy ones this time, thankfully!
As terrible and heartbreaking as this story began, I am awestruck at the amazingly positive things that have come from it. I think it just goes to show that, although bullying is still an infected sore on the skin of society, there are good people out there who are fighting back with compassion and kindness.