A pensioner who was reduced to tears by cruel taunts from schoolchildren has received more than £70,000 from well-wishers after footage of the incident went viral.
Bus monitor Karen Klein, 68, was filmed by one of the passengers being mercilessly mocked by kids on a schoolbus in Greece, New York.
In the video, which found its way onto YouTube, Mrs Klein is called “fat and ugly”. At one point a child can be heard saying: “If I stabbed you in the stomach, my knife would f****** go through like butter, because it’s all f****** lard”.
It has since been reported that one of her sons committed suicide 10 years ago. The footage has been watched more than 1.2 million times since it was uploaded two days ago.
After seeing the clip Toronto resident Max Sidorov decided to set up a fund for Mrs Klein, which has since gone on to shatter its £3180 [$5000] target. More than 3000 people have donated to the “vacation” pot which currently stands at a staggering £75,129 [$118,463].
Mr Sidorov, who has revealed he was once a victim of bullying, said: “Thank you everyone for your generous support, tomorrow is a new day and new adventures await! I hope Karen can sleep soundly with all this new joy in her life.”
Speaking after the incident Mrs Klein, a widow, said: “I just never imagined this in a million years, what they did to me. I was trying to ignore them hoping they would go away but it doesn’t work, trust me they didn’t go away.
“I hope the parents see this and they can talk to their kids and tell them they need to be more respectful.”
Talking to NBC, she added: “Back in my day we were afraid of adults more or less which meant we respected them. I would like them to apologise to me, that would be nice.”
Officials for the Greece Central School District officials pledged to punish those involved in the incident, while police are also investigating.
“All students found to have a role in this incident will face disciplinary action,” a spokesman said.