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Earlier this week, a video of several middle schoolers bullying 68 year-old bus monitor Karen Klein spread like wildfire across the web, prompting stranger Max Sidorov to start an Indiegogo campaign to give Klein the “vacation of a lifetime.” Well, that vacation is quickly turning into a sizable retirement fund: Sidorov’s campaign “Lets Give Karen Klein A Vacation!” has garnered $560,000 — and counting — from more than 25,000 generous donors.
“Never have we seen a campaign raise this much money this quickly in less than 36 hours,” Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin told NBC News.
Klein, who appreciates the outpouring of support, remains dubious about the donations. “It’s a nice gesture, but I don’t know if it’s real or not,” she said. “It sounds too good to be true.”
Several students responsible for tormenting the bus monitor — who earns a paltry $15,500 annually — issued statements apologizing to Klein through the police department in Greece, New York. “I am so sorry for the way I treated you,” said Joshua Slesak, one of the students involved in the incident. “When I saw the video I was disgusted and could not believe I did that. I will never treat anyone this way again.”
“I hope that this event will be a wake-up call that something needs to be done nationwide and worldwide to put a real stop to bullying,” said Jordan Doerr, a contributor to the campaign. “Karen, I don’t know how you resisted yelling or lashing out at the kids that were abusing you. You deserve this.”
In a reciprocal cycle of gratitude, somebody started a separate Indiegogo campaign to thank Max Sidorov for launching the original Klein project. It has already surpassed its funding goal. Both campaigns will remain open for another 28 days.