Toronto man raises $700,000 for bullied American grandma

A despicable display of bullying on YouTube touched thousands of hearts - and wallets

By Nicholas Nehamas

A Toronto man has raised $700,000 for the elderly American bus monitor who made national headlines after a group of school children cruelly bullied her and broadcast their harassment on YouTube.

Karen Klein, 68, of Greece, New York says she plans to give some of the money to charity and use the rest of it to retire, according to Canada’s Globe & Mail. Max Sidirov, a Toronto resident, originally hoped to raise $5,000, enough to send Klein on a well-deserved vacation, the paper reports. But donors beat his wildest expectations, ultimately contributing $703,873 to the Indiegogo.com account the Canadian set up for Klein’s benefit.

Unprovoked, four seventh-grade boys began verbally assaulting Klein on the bus to school in June, calling her “fat ass” and mocking her eldest son, who killed himself ten years ago. Klein told the boys, “Unless you have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” before beginning to weep.

The children posted the video on the Internet, and were later suspended from school. The incident made headlines around the world and helped renew a national conversation on bullying. You can watch what happened below, but beware: it’s upsetting stuff.

Sidirov says he and Klein have become good friends, texting and chatting on the phone regularly. And he’s pleased that his efforts have brought people together against bullying.

“I just hope that the money makes her happy,” Mr. Sidirov told the Globe & Mail. “It really warms my heart to know that there’s so many great people out there.”