In the span of just a few days, a video of vicious harassment of a school bus monitor at the hands of a group of suburban teens has gone viral, incited a backlash, and helped to raise a whole lot of money in sympathy. The video shows 69-year-old Karen Klein in her place of work—a green school bus bench seat—enduring the merciless bullying of several teens. The video Making the Bus Monitor Cry runs eight minutes and is unwatchable after 10 seconds.
The web incubates both cruelty and compassion, and what began as a cringe-inducing piece of senior-abuse porn has become a fundraising juggernaut in the hands of Reddit user Max Sidorov. He started the lets give Karen Klein a Vacation campaign on indiegogo with a goal of $5,000 and within days it has raked in nearly $400,000. That's one heck of a vacation. Sidorov told Mashable that he too had painful experiences of being victimized by bullies. "I know how bad it can feel," he said.
Over at Slate Torie Bosch calls Reddit "something of a St. Peter of the Internet, directing individuals to Web heaven and hell. If Reddit smiles upon you, there are rewards," she writes. Bosch goes on to list 8 other examples of Reddit's magnanimous smile (stacks of cash), including Caine's arcade, which flash mob fundraised $100,000 for a nine year old's education.
Here's to the kindness of the mob.