Karen Klein, the upstate New York bus driver whose bullying and humiliation at the hands of 7th-graders turned into a superviral video, finally collected the charity funds raised by a man who saw the video and wanted to help. The grand total? More than $700,000, awarded to her Tuesday at a ceremony in Toronto.
A spokeswoman for the fundraising site Indiegogo told the AP more than 30,000 people from 84 countries contributed.
Max Sidorov, the man behind the fundraiser, intended to raise about $5,000 and send Klein on a decent vacation, since she doesn’t earn nearly enough in her capacity as a bus monitor. In just one day, as Klein’s story spread, web citizens raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Then the fundraising got meta. Someone started a fundraising campaign to help Sidarov, who started the fundraiser to help Klein. Then there was the fundraiser to help Case Prince, the guy who started the fundraiser to help Sidarov, who started the fundraiser to help Klein. That one seems a bit ironic, but this is all like a Russian nesting doll of fundraisers.
Klein plans to use the money to start an anti-bullying fund, going on tour across several states and holding free concerts for grade schools, camps and youth organizations. She’ll be joined by Logan West, Miss Teen USA, who admits to being bullied as a kid.
And, of course, Klein retired. Wouldn’t you?
It’s unclear at this point if one of her tormenters got a tattoo of Klein on his neck.[AP]