Karen Klein was going through an incredibly difficult time in her life. Ten years after her husband passed away, her son killed himself and Karen was devastated.
Then one day when she was 68 years old, Karen's life reached a breaking point. Four teens bullied and harassed her on a school bus. They insulted her, humiliated her, poked her — and eventually, Karen broke down and burst into tears.
But the teenagers would soon get what they deserved... when Karen's life took an unexpected turn.
The footage from that bus ride in Rochester, New York is tough to watch.
Karen was working as a bus monitor at the time and became the target of the bullies.
On the video, you can hear the children call her fat and ugly — and tell her that she should just kill herself.
The last comment was especially painful, since Karen's son had taken his life just a few years earlier.
At first, the then 68-year-old tried to resist and tell the boys to stop — but they refused to listen.
In the end, it was just too much and Karen broke into tears.
The bullies were proud of what they had done. They posted the disgusting video on Facebook to amuse their friends.
But neither the boys nor Karen were prepared for what would happen as a result.
The video spread like wildfire online... not because people were laughing at Karen, but for a completely different reason.
People around the world were horrified. Who does this to a wonderful older woman? She could be your mother or grandmother.
Sympathetic messages started pouring in. And among the thousands of supportive comments, one stood out from the crowd.
A guy who had himself been bullied in the past, 25-year-old Max Sidorov, wanted to start a fund for Karen!
Max hoped to collect $5,000 so that Karen could take a vacation. But the fundraising effort brought in much more than that.
People around the world donated money and soon they had collected a whopping $703,000!
"You have all inspired me by your acts of love. Together, we will change the world," Karen wrote on her blog at the time.
Karen used the money to launch a foundation to counter bullying — and she's forever grateful to Max Sidorov, who got the ball rolling.
And the bullies? They were suspended from school for a whole year and were forced to do 50 hours of community service and enroll in an anti-bullying program.
Although this story too place in 2012, it still teaches an important lesson. Bullying has to end — and just as this story shows, together, we can make a difference.
Please share this story and help stamp out bullying once and for all!