Are verbal or hand-written apologies always enough? Do they ease the pain of a hurtful incident on their own accord?
A recent bout of bullying in Greece, New York is proving that sometimes the most powerful way to say “I’m sorry” involves making a donation.
This past week, seventh-grade boys in the Greece Central School District near Rochester, New York ridiculed their 68-year-old bus monitor Karen H. Klein with verbal taunts and threats. Lest the threats go unnoticed, one of the boys recorded the cruel bullying on his cell phone and proceeded to upload the video to YouTube, where the video now has over 7 million views.
Upon seeing the YouTube video, Max Sidorov, a native of Toronto, Canada, knew he needed to counter the bullying—and needed to do so publicly. And so he put together a fund in Ms. Klein’s name on IndieGoGo, a creative fundraising website. The site allows individuals to broadcast their pursuits and raise money for their causes on the web.
The “Love for Karen H. Klein” fund is stirring national attention—and for good reason. So far, Mr. Sidorov has raised over $600,000 for Ms. Klein from 29,000 donors. That’s an astounding 120 times the amount of money Mr. Sidorov hoped to raise.
In creating the fund, Mr. Sidorov set out to amass enough money to send Ms. Klein on a much-needed vacation. The fund’s description reads: “Let’s give her something she will never forget, a vacation of a lifetime!” But the success of the fund means far more for Ms. Klein than Mr. Sidorov ever could have imagined.
According to the New York Daily News, Ms. Klein may use the $600,000 in donations to retire from her job. She has worked as a bus driver and bus monitor in the Greece School District for 23 years. And Ms. Klein’s daughter, Amanda Romig, explains that her mother will also use the money to pay bills and donate to good causes of her own. “She has a lot of ideas,” says Ms. Romig in an interview with RadarOnline.
In Ms. Klein’s case, nationwide donations will keep on giving long after the fundraiser ends. And Mr. Sidorov’s efforts show that something great can develop from something awful.