Last week news broke of a horrible situation. Some teens on a bus apparently thought that it would be fun to harass a bus monitor, a senior citizen named Karen H Klein. They called her fat, poor and a bunch of other mean, and hurtful things. While they were doing this, one recorded the entire event and uploaded it to Facebook to mock the bus monitor even more.
This could have been just another in the long list of horrible bully stories that you hear of which results in a lot of anguish but nothing substantial. Or, even worse, it could have stayed hidden with the bullies getting nothing to dissuade them from bullying again and with the bullied feeling like they were alone in the world.
It could have been, but then a man by the name of Max Sidorov intervened. First, he noticed the video on Facebook and decided that the whole world needed to see this. So he reposted the video on YouTube. Here’s the video, if you can watch the whole thing. Personally, I was only able to make it about a minute in.
Secondly, he decided that Karen deserved a vacation. He opened a fundraiser on Indiegogo. His goal was to hit $5,000 in about 30 days. As I’m writing this (on Sunday night), there are 26 days to go and the fundraiser is at $641,196. No, there isn’t a missing decimal point. They have raised over SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND dollars for Karen. This isn’t just "take a vacation" money or even ""take a really nice vacation" money. This is "retire and never have to deal with these horrid teens ever again" money.
There were (as of this writing), 29,606 contributors. That’s almost thirty thousand people who gave over $20 each because Karen’s story touched them and they wanted to throw some support behind her. Beyond that, there was a groundswell of emotional support as well. I haven’t seen any comments saying "Oh this lady’s so old and fat, she deserved it." I haven’t seen any comments saying "Meh, kids will be kids. This is just part of kids growing up. Ignore it any it’ll go away." Instead, I’ve seen questions asking how the kids could be so cruel, asking how the kids could be allowed to do this, asking why didn’t anyone intervene, and asking what role do the parents have in this. Emotional support was thrown behind Karen big time.
This overwhelming support shows that there *are* people out there who care. There *are* people out there who will see bullying happen and will say "this is wrong." It sends a clear message to bullyings that their activities will be exposed and will *NOT* be tolerated.
Moreover, I was impressed by Karen’s response to the kids who were bullying them. During the bullying, she could have lost her temper. She could have yelled, screamed, and threatened the boys. She didn’t, though. She kept her cool and stayed calm. Yes, she cried, but so would most people subjected to such emotional torture. (It didn’t help that they said she was so ugly that her family probably killed themselves… when her son killed himself when he was ten. The kids hit a big emotional trigger there, purely by mistake but still in a malicious manner.)
Instead of screaming, Karen took the abuse and tried to respond calmly. She showed more grace and restraint than those teens deserved. She took the high road and rose higher than those teens could ever hope to soar. Not unless they have some serious attitude adjustments.
When I hear about these bullying incidents, the bullies make me sad for humanity. Especially the "mob bullies" who band together to take on a victim but would be too scared to do anything by themselves. However, Karen’s reactions and the legions of people who came to her defense once the video was posted leave me with renewed faith in humanity. Perhaps we can band together and defeat bullying after all.