It's been one year since Karen Klein, the bus monitor from Greece, N.Y., was mercilessly bullied by a bunch of teens on her bus route. One year since that particular incident of bullying was caught on tape and watched around the world. And one year since the world responded by rallying around Klein by launching a viral campaign that was intended to raise $5,000 to send her on vacation but instead raised more than $700,000.
So what did Klein do with all of that money? Buy a new house? New car? Take a fancy vacation? Nope. The sweet grandmother won our hearts again by immediately pledging a portion of the money towards an anti-bullying campaign. Klein used her windfall as seed money for the Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation, which has one message for kids: Be kind.
Karen has traveled some — visiting Boston and Toronto to promote her foundation at concerts and anti-bullying rallies. She also participated in a WNBA anti-bullying event in Newark, N.J., and has made the rounds on a number of cable and local television stations to talk about her experience and her foundation. And the now 69-year-old grandmother was finally able to retire, which is something she says she could never have afforded to do before.
But other than that, her family says Klein's life really hasn't changed that much at all. She's just a regular woman who wants kids to remember to be kind.
As for the kids who taunted and teased her on that bus? Klein says she has met with one of the boys who bullied her when he and his parents came to her home to apologize. The other three boys sent typed apology letters, which Klein said seemed less sincere.
Here's a recap of Klein's story when it first made headlines last year:
I'm curious ... how would you have handled it if it was your child who was the bully? If that were my daughter, I would have not only brought her to Klein's home to apologize but I would have put her to work volunteering for Klein's foundation for the foreseeable future. Oh, and she would be so grounded. But that's just me. What would you do?
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