Rochester, N.Y. -- In just a week Karen Klein’s entire life has changed and on Tuesday night, for the first time, she met the man responsible.
On Tuesday, June 19, a YouTube video of Klein being bullied by middle schoolers on the bus started going viral. Klein, a school bus monitor for the Greece School District, never imagined what the video would lead to.
In Toronto, 25-year-old Max Sidorov saw the video and was angry and passionate enough about it to want to help Klein. He started a fundraiser online to help Karen go on a vacation. The goal was $5,000, but as of Tuesday, July 26 more than $650,000 had been donated.
Sidorov drove down to Greece from Toronto on Tuesday night to meet Klein in person. She greeted Sidorov with open arms and a warm hug.
"It's fantastic because I've never known anyone who did anything like this," says Klein. "He's done a great job. Everything is just so awesome."
The two sat at Klein’s kitchen table, opening and reading letters of support from people all over the world.
"It reinforces my belief that there are so many good-hearted, kind, genuine people out there," says Sidorov. "It's inspired me."
Klein and Sidorov say that they may make a YouTube video to thank their supporters.
Karen says it’s still hard to believe that the $650,000 is all hers. For now, she says she has no plans to quit her job.
"I enjoy the kids," she says. "I really do. I hate to have four kids keeps me away from the job I love."
As for Sidorov, he says he’s come away from the experience with a stronger faith in people.
"Love and kindness is the real goal," he says. "That's what makes the world. Love makes the world go around."