How To Get Bullied On A Bus

By now we’ve all heard the story of Karen Klein, right? She’s the sweet grandmother of 8 who, in her job as a school bus monitor, got bullied and insulted by a group of smarmy, teenage jerkfaces. And smarmy jerkfaces being what they are, one of them posted a video of the incident on YouTube, because apparently it was a priority for him the show the world what an a-hole he is. Almost instantly, Karen became a national celebrity. America felt terrible for her, as we rightfully should, so heartbreakingly sweet and apologetic interviews with Karen can now be found across TV and the web.

But that’s not kicker. The KICKER is that a donation campaign was started to buy Karen a $5,000 vacation to help make up for her suffering, and because of the massive public interest and sympathy, that fund is now worth over $560,000. That’s right, $560,000. Over half a million dollars, for experiencing ten minutes of vicious and demeaning insults. Now don’t get me wrong, what happened to Karen was cruel, unfair, and totally irredeemable, and I myself have already made a donation to her fund – but 560 Large? I mean, I get insulted everyday and have yet to make a single penny off the experience. I think every one of use would sign up for ten minutes of vitriol if we knew there was 500 G’s waiting for us at the other end of that rainbow of awfulness, right? Truth be told, I’ll let you say whatever you want to me for forty bucks and a ham sandwich. Who knew there was such profit in being humiliated?! Other than the cast of Jersey Shore, I mean.

If you’re anything like me, and my condolences if you are, you’re wondering how you too can cash in on this gravy train of tragedy. I mean, if people are gonna be obnoxious, you might as well make some money out of it. So here now is a list of foolproof ways to get jerkfaces everywhere to bully you into financial gain.

1. Be Fat: As a former fat kid who rode a lot of busses, let me tell you, chubbiness is a bullying goldmine. You walk onto a bus of teenagers with more than 5% body fat and they will rip you to shreds. Poor Karen had to endure a lot of cracks about her weight, which is completely ridiculous. She’s old! I got news for you kids, when you’re a grandparent you’re not gonna be so svelte yourself. So if you want the big bucks, there’s no more surefire way than packing on the pounds. The kids will say terrible things, believe me, I’ve heard them all. But just replace the words of venom with the sound of a cash register CHA-CHINGing in your mind, and it’ll all be worth it.

2. Dance: It’s a scientific fact that 90% of human beings look like morons when they dance. And no one is more aware of this than teenagers. I mean, you ever been to a high school dance. There’s four people dancing, and two hundred standing on the sidelines drinking soda pop. If you want to attract the negative attention of children, there is no better way to step aboard that bus and immediately start doing the Tango with a non-existent partner. Bonus dollars for intense facial expressions, or if you can convince a friend to help you do the lift from Dirty Dancing. That’ll bring the house down, insult-wise. If you’re trying to break the bank, consider the addition of leg warmers and a possible leotard. Kids can’t contain themselves around a guy in tights. Adults too, to be honest.

3. Buy a Monocle: Have you ever seen someone with a monocle? That crap is hilarious. Honestly, I think I’d make fun of my own Dad if he tried to pull that off. In general, the more you can look like Mr. Peanut, the better. Which brings me to my next point…

4. Wear a Costume: Look, there’s gonna be a lot of people out there trolling for Karen Klein dollars, so if you want the focus to be on you, you’re gonna have to go big. And nothing is bigger in a cruel teenager’s eyes than a grown man in a chicken costume. Or, say, throwing a diaper and sash on and going as a giant adult Cupid. Go with whatever feels right, just keep in mind that if all goes well a video of this performance will probably appear on The Today Show, Good Morning America, and the computer monitors of everyone you’ve ever met. So if you don’t want the world to see you as the first ever white overweight Mr. T, think of that sooner rather than later.

5. Learn a Language that Only Exists in Fantasy Novels: My first day of high school, a kid came in with a handmade walking stick adorned with hand-carved phrases from an Elfin language in Lord of The Rings. It will not surprise you to learn that high school was unkind to this young man. In retrospect, I actually think that was pretty awesome, but if you want teenagers to bully you, there’s no more direct route than talking like a hobbit.

That all it takes, gang. But if you make millions, be sure to donate a bit to Karen. Because she really earned it. TC mark

image – YouTube


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  • liz

    I feel really uncomfortable with the fact that she’s planning to keep all of this money for herself. Idk, maybe donate some to a charity/organization that works to prevent bullying?

    • kelly

      Why? I donated knowing and wanting her to receive the money. It’s hers to do with whatever she wants. I think anyone who has to deal with little assholes like that day-in and day-out deserve a nice retirement.

      • Awesome-Sauce

        Really, Kelly? Because I was bullied on a bus from the time I was in kindergarten to pretty much the day I graduated high school. Not to mention the abuse in the hallways. There were years in a row that I refused to go for walks with the few friends I did have because I was sick and tired of hearing the stuff that the people in my town, kids and adults alike, said about me. I had to put up with that for 12 years, day-in and day-out. Where’s my money? Where’s the money for almost every single other person in the world.

        It sucks what she had to go through and I’m glad people feel bad for her, but I feel like this shouldn’t have been used to make money for one person, but rather to raise awareness for bullying. It seems that everyone is talking about this one woman and ignoring the fact that this happens to everyone.

        And – this is the part that makes me seem like an asshole but it needs to be said – who was the adult in this situation? Who was the one with the authority to present these kids with consequences? If I remember correctly, a bus monitor’s job is to make sure kids behave themselves. She should have known how to handle this according to the school policy on bullying, whether it was detention or suspension or whatever.

    • Brian Donovan

      Why shouldn’t see keep it? We gave it to her. It’s fine if she wants to donate, but I wish she’d use to taunt the teenagers in return. Maybe pay someone to follow them around all day, whispering “This person is a jerk.”

      • Awesome-Sauce

        Because fighting fire with fire is something we oughta teach our kids. By the way, this instance of them bullying was an isolated offense, they had never done anything like it before and they apologized which, really, doesn’t make it seem like they’re jerks… Besides, she doesn’t need to pay anyone. Their names and addresses were leaked to the public so they’re already being followed around and having insults and death threats sent to their house.

      • meow

        Are you trolling? “this instance of them bullying was an isolated offense, they had never done anything like it before and they apologized which, really, doesn’t make it seem like they’re jerks…” Yeah, I’m sure those kids were total sweethearts til the moment they got on that bus and something just snapped. Are you fucking kidding me? Oh and yeah, since they apologized after their youtube video (that THEY UPLOADED THEMSELVES) of them bullying that sweet old lady got national attention, how could they be jerks? I mean, they apologized, right??

    • Rob Vincent (@rob_t_firefly)

      “Right now, she has got to call her accountant and go from there, she’s talking about paying her bills and getting caught up and then whatever she feels she wants to do, she is going to do,” [Klein’s daughter] Romig tells Radar.

      “She has a lot of ideas including making a donation here and there. My nephew has autism and my niece has Down syndrome, and with those types of disabilities the kids are going to get picked on too, so she wants to help both causes,” she explained.


      • Awesome-Sauce

        @Meow; If they did, it wasn’t her. In an interview she said that she had had “a few comments before” but “never anything like this.” Clearly you don’t agree, but I think apologies go a long way, especially the way these boys apologized, you should read them sometime. By the way, and maybe someone discredited this and I missed it (doubtful) at first one of the boys uploaded it to his Facebook account in order to show it to a particular person, and then that person uploaded it to Youtube because they thought it was funny. That person has never been named or talked to. And either way, they said they didn’t want national attention, when it got to Youtube they figured like, twenty people would see it. These boys have been really sweet about it in their apologies and in the way they’ve been acting but no one sees that.

        @Rob Vincent: I heard that from her daughter too, but Karen, herself, seems to only be talking about retirement and traveling. I’m curious how she will end up spending it.

        I’d also like to point out that she has been offered an all expenses paid trip to DisneyWorld including the flight, donated by an airline, for her and nine other people, a vacation spot in Maui, and someone in California wants to give her a car. So it’s not just the $636,000.

  • Maya

    Dude..shes been living off of 15000$ a year, give her a break.

  • Mike L

    This just highlights the effect of corporate media content being focused on what’s most profitable for those companies vs. what best informs the audience.

    If Matt Lauer and his colleagues would talking about more important causes, those important causes would get more donations.

  • liberalcynic

    Good for her. This could also have gone unnoticed. She got lucky. She got a lot of money. She should keep it.
    Also, I like the idea of a monocle. Something about it seems safe—like the guy want’s to focus real hard.

  • Lizzy

    Wait, you think this only went on for 10 minutes? Kids like this don’t just wake up one day and decide they’re going to be mean. I think it’s pretty obvious, even if it was never explicitly mentioned, that Karen had been suffering from longterm verbal abuse at the hands of these kids. There’s no way this was a one-time incident. Sure, anyone would sign up for “ten minutes” of bullying, like you said. But that’s not what Karen went through. It’s just that these ten minutes were the only ones videotaped and publicized.

    • Brian Donovan

      I appreciate your passion, Lizzy, but it was a one-time incident. Watch a Karen interview or two – I’m obsessed, so I’ve seen them all. She explains that nothing like is has ever happened before and came out of nowhere.

    • Awesome-Sauce

      Brian’s right, she said herself nothing like this had ever happened before. And on top of that, I heard in one news report (now I can’t find it, of course, so I can’t give you a concrete source) that it was an isolated incident for the kids too. They had never bullied anyone before, bus monitor or fellow student.

      • Erin

        There are actually two other videos online of her being bullied on two other occasions (posted by same user who uploaded the 10 minute video), so just the severity of this particular bus ride was a ‘one-time incident.’ I agree with Lizzy. There is no way this was an isolated incident for these kids; the only thing different about this insult parade was that it was so severe and went viral. Given the frankly horrifying language they used and how merciless they were taunting her, I really don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine that they have taunted her multiple times before (there are those two other videos, too) and that they probably treat some of their more vulnerable classmates poorly as well. Additionally, in her interview with Anderson Cooper, Karen definitely suggested that at least one of the children (I don’t remember his name) had been in trouble numerous times for bad behavior, even saying she didn’t believe his apology. Her disbelief is not a sentiment that would be expected from a ‘one-time incident.’ Children who act like this develop and display such behavior over time, they don’t just wake up one day and decide to verbally torture someone for 10 minutes.

      • Awesome-Sauce

        @Erin: Would you mind sourcing these other Youtube videos? I feel like this is such an incident that they would also be on the news but I’ve never heard of them. Also, she didn’t believe any of the kids’ apologies or the apologies of their parents, so that’s not saying much. I would also like to see a source for the kid being in trouble all the time, because everything I’ve read insists that the boys were pretty well behaved for 13 year olds. That’s the thing that many people forget. They were 13 year old boys who, yes, should have gotten in trouble. But she was the adult on the bus. She was the one with the authority to say “hey, cut it out or these are the consequences”. It’s a bus monitors job to deal with bullies.

  • Masha Tsarick

    The dude who taped and posted the video was not one of those who insulted her. Check your facts.

    • Brian Donovan

      That’s his story, Masha. I ain’t buying it. Also, posting it was clearly an act of malevolence, so he remains a jerkface in my estimation.

      • Masha Tsarick

        Well, I know this whole story smells fishy but I would like to still have a little belief in humanity so I’d stick to my story. Also the dude who taped it is actually the one who started the donation campaign. So even if he did bullied her too, he feels guilty, which is a good sign. I just hope she will get her money. At least half of it.

      • Awesome-Sauce

        @Masha The dude who taped it is NOT the one who started the campaign. The campaign was started by Max Sidorov, an adult man living in Toronto who felt bad for her. (Side note, someone started a donation for him as a thank you. Seems to be a lot of profit in this story.) Please double check your own facts. All of the boys also came out and apologized, and they all feel bad according to what they say so, if you’re taking one boy’s word on it you have to take the word of all of them.
        Don’t worry about her not getting her money, she’s going to get all of it, there’s no reason she wouldn’t.

  • Irene

    I agree with this article. Obviously she only got bullied for those ten minutes otherwise the tormenters would have taped it before. Plus, she never mentions past incidents in interviews. Although I do feel bad such a tragic event happened to her, half a million dollars is a little mu especially when millions of kids are bullied everyday, not just for ten minutes. She was the bus monitor… she was supposed to monitor those boys’ behaviors instead of sitting there helplessly. She is triple the boys’ ages and should have known to report the incident herself.

    • Awesome-Sauce

      ^THIS. By which I mean, of course, that I agree wholeheartedly.

    • Tyrone

      wooorddd sista

    • KC

      Yes, sums up everything I wanted to say about this.

  • tawrahy

    What happens when you’re from a culture that believes anything can be compensated with $$$.

  • go

    internet wooooo. stories we won’t care about in a week. let’s killourselves

  • Sana

    Just to clarify on one thing, the video wasn’t taken and uploaded by one of the bullies, it was actually taken by a kid that was apparently always really kind to Karen and wanted to record evidence of what she was going through on the bus to show others.

    • user

      really? I saw on a interview that he had intended to record it and send it in for a comedy show because he thought it was funny
      of course, he later realized it was mean after the whole thing went viral

    • Awesome-Sauce

      When he came out and apologized (when they all came out and apologized, apologies she did not accept), he admitted that he started recording it because the kids taunting her asked him to. Then he posted it on his Facebook and it was then taken to Youtube. So no, I’m sorry, this kid wasn’t trying to be heroic, he gave into peer pressure.

  • Carly Fowler (@JonTargaryen)

    I mean, I’m glad she received her money and is taking some much needed time off.

    But I had to get police involved with the bullying I received. I had the hallways swept with my body and had some in depth death threats sent to me in the beginning of high school. Where’s my “compensation?”

    I don’t think she should donate the money to anti-bullying campaigns, though. Because what good have they done?

    • Awesome-Sauce

      The man who set up the fundraiser, Max Sidorov, planned on using some of the money to hire someone to come to the school and talk about bullying. I don’t know if it would help for everyone, but for at least a short period of time having someone come in and talk about it was helpful at my middle school. People freaked out that he wasn’t going to give her all the money, so he agreed to let her have complete control over how it was spent. I agree that anti-bullying campaigns don’t often work, but I still feel like she’s profiting from this too much.

      • Brian Donovan

        Ha ha, hooray for Awesome Sauce. Someone as addicted to this story as I am.

      • Awesome-Sauce

        Sometimes I’m struck with the idea that maybe I need a life. And then I kill that idea with fire. I don’t suppose I have to tell you that the fundraiser is at $640,273 now? And that there’s almost another month left for people to make donations?

  • steve_the_cat

    What’s with the over-analysis?

    Some people were obnoxious to someone else. It went viral, and loads of people donated because that’s what happens when things go viral and you can donate to the good guy. Now the victim has lots of money. One of the quirks of the burgeoning online world.

    It’s not like you can volunteer to be bullied for financial gain. It wasn’t a career choice by Karen Klein to be picked on to make money.

    Bullying is wrong. As fate would have it, a victim of bullying has ended up with lots of money. So, um, good?

  • makerm

    Wait, so we’re all arguing about whether or not this was an isolated incident, etc. etc. etc., and no one’s commenting on how ridiculous it is that one poor bus monitor had to endure some terrible bullying and got $500,000 dollars out of it, but millions of people undergo institutionalized racism every year and people in this country still take issue with affirmative action? Or like, all the other people whose Other status causes them to be subjected to bullying every day and get nothing out of it except some emotional scarring and maybe the It Gets Better Project? Was that the subtext of this article and I missed it, or is everyone seriously blind to this irony? If the latter, I’m disappointed in you, Thought Catalog commenters.

  • Lily

    i would just like to say that i hope everyone starts focusing on how this bus monitor should be an example of how not to deal with bullies. It is mean, it is horrible, but it is inevitable. No time in the near future are middle school kids (or ANYONE, child or adult) going to stop bullying. We need to focus on those being bullied, not the bullies. Teach kids to be strong, stand up for themselves and be confident. In terms of suicide and other self-hurting because of bullying, we need to truly focus on mental health and it’s availability and current stigma in our society.

  • Bethanie Marshall (@bethanie_m)

    The fact that this even made news is so ridiculous. I never had bus monitors when I was a kid, but there were some bus drivers that took a lot of crap from bratty classmates. That is a very horrible part of the job, but it happens. If the kids had misbehaved like that before, than what was their consequence? Surely had they been reprimanded in the past and given a punishment for the behavior then they would not have been so keen to do it again. Also, if she can’t keep a handle on these little devils, then what the hell is the purpose of paying someone to do this job, and why was she doing it if she didn’t do anything about their behavior?

  • caseykurlander

    I felt awful after watching that video, but I am glad that Karen Klein is getting somewhat of a happy ending. I think she deserves it and I’m glad that she is donating some of that money to charity and good causes. I wrote an article yesterday about her story and the power of the Internet and social media. Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out:


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