Despite the fact that strangers raised nearly $700,000 for former bus monitor, Karen Klein, the 69-year-old widow insists her life is still pretty much the same.
“I’m just a regular old lady,” Klein said in a recent interview.
After a video of four adolescent boys who bullied her on a school bus went viral, a Canadian man named Max Sidorov decided to start an online fund to send Klein on vacation. The fund skyrocketed and Klein was able to retire — something she had previously thought was impossible.
Klein donated some of the money to the Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation, which promotes kindness through books, but she mostly saved the money.
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“There’s a lot I wish I could be doing, but I don’t know how to do it,” Klein said.
With more time on her hands, Klein has spent it with family members and friends. Klein said she might invest in a motor home and do some traveling, though with a brand new pacemaker, she admitted she should probably take things slowly.
While her lifestyle has not changed, her perception of other people has.
“There’s a lot of nice people out there, I have learned that,” Klein said. “And [I have learned] to ignore the negative people.”
Klein has often been criticized for her actions in the viral video; some say she neglected to assert her authority as a bus driver over school children, while others say she was seeking fame and fortune.
Amanda Klein-Romig, Klein’s daughter, defended her mother against outside critics and insisted that she had never changed.
“Everything’s the same pretty much,” Klein-Romig said. “She didn’t ask for this.”