By now, you’ve probably seen or heard about the bus monitor bullying video that’s been making the Internet rounds lately. If you haven’t, here’s the lowdown: in the video uploaded to YouTube, a 78-year-old bus monitor by the name of Karen Klein is verbally tormented with profane insults by middle-school students riding her bus in Greece Central School District in New York. The worst comes when one of the children says to Karen that she “didn’t have a family because they all killed themselves because they didn’t want to be near you.” She’s been a widow for 17 years, and her oldest son committed suicide 10 years ago. Karen Klein cries from the anguish of her abuse in the video, and many viewers who have seen the video couldn’t help but shed tears as well.
A lot’s been said about the mean-spiritedness of some YouTube commenters, trolls and “haters.” But guess what? There are some good people out there too. The Karen Klein video moved one Reddit user so much that he started an online fundraiser on crowdfunding site IndieGoGo.com to send Karen on a much-deserved vacation. On Karen’s about section on Facebook, she wrote, “Still working for Greece, unless I come into lots of money I will continue to work….I enjoy it also.” She may not have to work anymore as she can now probably afford to take a permanent vacation–the fundraising goal was to raise $5,000 in a month’s time, but at last count, the fundraiser has hit the $300,000 mark after only a couple of days.
There’s no doubt that we’re a snarkier and more narcissistic society than ever before; rotten behavior and destructive attitudes are some of the calling cards of our favorite celebrities, reality shows and viral videos. And the same type of people that bullied Karen Klein on the bus are probably busy bullying others online at this very moment. But as with the mentioning of the Klein fundraiser, sometimes it’s crucial that we remind ourselves of simple truths that challenge our notion that the world is becoming a giant sinkhole of inhumanity–simple truths that give us hope.
MY FINAL GOODBYE
17-year-old Shaun Wilson-Miller posted a brave farewell-to-the-world video on YouTube and gained millions of friends and followers worldwide that wished him well. His touched followers catapulted him to viral stardom, and their support led him to be able to meet his soccer heroes from the Essendon Football Club and to a guest appearance on the Australian TV series, “The Neighbours.”
Fiona the Dog
The viral video of Fiona, a blind and homeless dog, had millions of hearts across the world whimpering. The video of her rescue and adoption was inspiring, and the message of animal welfare and adoption had to hit home for many prospective dog owners: adopting a dog is always the better choice.
It Gets Better
The Dan Savage-created video project featuring adults telling their stories to inspire LGBT youth to stick through their teen years to reach better lives as adults has been one of the most influential and positive messages during the LGBT movement post-2010. How many teens have decided to stand up against bullying, or stick it through, so that they could reach a happier adulthood? Even one would have been a success.
What are some of the videos that have inspired you?