By Annette Lein, Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle
By Michael Winter, USA TODAY
Donations for a 68-year-old school bus monitor bullied by seventh-graders outside Rochester, N.Y., have topped $650,000, and she's looking beyond the intended "vacation of a lifetime" for how to dispose of her windfall.
"What would anybody do with that much money? I would like to invest some," Karen Klein, of suburban Greece, said during an interview on NBC's Today show, a week after a video of the cruel taunting went viral.
The grandmother of eight also plans to give some of the money to charity and to help her children. "They need cars, they need, they need, they need - it never ends,'' she said jokingly.
The donation campaign -- which runs for 26 more days -- was started by Max Sidorov in Toronto, Canada.
"She doesn't earn nearly enough ($15,506) to deal with some of the trash she is surrounded by. Lets give her something she will never forget, a vacation of a lifetime!" he wrote.
Klein and her daughter will meet Sidorov on Wednesday in Rochester.
Klein is overwhelmed by the donations and attention. But she made it clear during today's Today interview that the bigger picture is the problem of bullying.
"I want kids to stop bullying,'' she said. "Maybe they could start up a class in school to teach these kids not to do stuff like that.''
Two of the four boys have sent Klein short written apologies, and the mother of one boy wrote a longer apology. One boy's father apologized in person.
Klein hopes to speak to the boys in person at some point.
"Actually, I would like to, eventually, not right away, ask them why they did it,'' she told NBC's Ann Curry, adding that she wants "an apology and an explanation.''
The 10-minute clip, "Making the Bus Monitor Cry,'' has been viewed more than seven million times on YouTube.