GREECE, N.Y. (WIVB) - The ruthless verbal attack on a grandmother near Rochester continues to draw outrage from around the world. As the fallout builds from that disturbing video, people from across the globe continue showing their support for bus aide Karen Klein.
The fund raising money for Klein to take a vacation topped the half-million dollar mark Friday. And by the time donors are finished, she could very well become a millionaire.
That unfortunate YouTube video has turned Klein into the best known school bus aide on Earth - and the highest-paid. But the downside of all this attention is threats and ridicule against anyone associated with her ordeal.
Klein has chosen not to press charges against four middle school students who tormented and threatened her.
"I almost think what they are going through is worse than what I went through. They are threatening their families, and I don't like that," she noted.
The kids accused of verbally abusing the grandmother of eight have received phone threats and e-mail threats from people all over the world. The Greece Police Department has received hoax 911 calls.
Greece Police Capt. Steve Chatterton said, "Saying that someone was holding them hostage. That is not funny. That is a crime, that is a form of bullying, and that makes everyone doing it no better than the four kids who did this."
Even Greece's Board of Education is getting threats and insults, which one boardmember says are worse than what happened to Klein.
The boardmember said, "That we are idiots, we are imbeciles, we don't know what we're doing, we should all be fearful - things along those lines."
Even the man who is making Karen Klein's dreams beyond her wildest imagination come true is overwhelmed by the response.
Max Sidorov said, "The first idea I had was a vacation I had no idea I was going to raise anywhere near this amount, I thought maybe a few thousand - maybe send her somewhere nice."
But talking to Klein, she is a person of simple pleasures. All she wants is to make a few small improvements to her house and pay off her car note.
The money collected for Karen Klein's benefit could be tax-free. Donations to the website are considered gifts, and tax experts told News 4, IRS rules require the donor to pay the "gift taxes," not the recipient, and the first $13,000 in gifts is excluded from the tax. The State of New York has no gift tax.
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