If You Can’t Say Something Nice
If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. This is one of those phrases that has been uttered to most of us since childhood. Unfortunately, for some people, it never seems to stick.
This Monday, on a school bus in Greece, New York (near Rochester), a bunch of middle schoolers started bullying their bus monitor, Karen Klein. They attacked her with the typical vocal abuse–insults, profanity, picking on her for her appearance. One student told her that she doesn’t have a family because they all killed themselves to get away from her (particularly painful, since her son committed suicide ten years ago).
One of the students caught the scene on a cell phone camera and it ended up online. The bullying goes on for nearly ten minutes.
That could be the end of the story, except for that video. It has gone viral and has gotten international attention. And while Klein says she doesn’t plan to press charges, the police captain for Greece, NY says that he has “gotten e-mails from the United Kingdom (and) from all over the United States saying prosecute, prosecute.”
That’s pretty powerful, that this video of horrific bullying has sparked such outrage that people across the ocean from where this occurred are getting involved too.
But that’s not even the best part of the story.
The support for Karen Klein that was sparked by the video has gotten to be so strong, and so amazing, that an indiegogo.com fundraiser has been started to give her a vacation to Disneyland. And how much has been raised? At the time of this posting, well over $500,000. According to indiegogo.com’s Max Sidorov:
“I had no idea I was going to raise anywhere near this amount. I thought maybe a few thousand…But this is enough for her to retire.”
I can’t fully wrap my mind around how awesome all of this is. People around the world have taken what was a heartbreaking video of a 68-year-old woman being harrassed by a bunch of middle schoolers and have turned it around into a positive situation for her. Meanwhile, the bullies get to wait and wonder if they’re going to have any punishment for their actions coming their way in the coming weeks. If this doesn’t tell people that bullying will not be tolerated, I don’t know what will.
As someone who was bullied as a child, I find this story unbelievably heartwarming. This story gives me so much hope that maybe others won’t have to experience bullying in years to come. It’s not something that will be fixed immediately; we all know that. But this is such a great step in the right direction to putting a stop to bullying and I couldn’t be more pleased.
So try to say something nice to someone. That, too, will be a good step.