Here's to you, Ms. Klein


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

If any of you were alive in the past week (and by alive, I mean watched television) then you know about the bus monitor — the one in upstate New York who took a verbal beating from a school bus full of 11-year-olds.

Karen H. Klein, a 68-year-old retired bus driver from Rochester, N.Y., sat on a crowded yellow school bus, cramped in a seat made for a kid, and was heckled for 10 minutes until she started crying.

Here's the kicker (like being called a "fat ass" for 10 minutes isn't enough) — the abuse came from a group of seventh-grade boys.

Apparently, the boys thought Klein had a bit of a weight problem (which she doesn't) and apparently their version of justice was to record her public lynching with a cell phone and promptly post it on YouTube with the title "Making the Bus Monitor Cry" (because they are idiots).

F**k is used 34 times in the video; fat ass is used 20 times; troll is used seven times; there is mention of vandalizing Klein's house (egging and such) including breaking in and masturbating into her mouth; there are two blatant threats of stabbing Klein and cutting her stomach open to see how many "Big Macs" they would find; there are two mentions of rape, one involving a Twinke; and last but not least, the kids assumed her entire family killed themselves because they couldn't stand to be around her.

The video is 10 minutes and four seconds long.

Let's skip the fact that I didn't even know the "f" word when I was in seventh-grade (and still never use it in public), and, hell, we can skip all the crap about the parents having failed miserably, the School District sucking, the person who was driving the bus at the time being a degenerate bystander, and let's just assume these kids are terrible human beings and will eventually develop drinking problems or get struck by lighting.

I really don't care about the kids or what punishment they will receive or how we can prevent this from happening in the future. It doesn't matter because the answer to all those problems is right in the video.

It's Klein.

A widow who retired from driving a bus for 20-odd years takes up a job as a bus monitor, putting up with kids such as this in her spare time, and touting around a discount purse with platitudes such as "Live with integrity" and "Dare to laugh" cheaply sketched on it. She sits for 10 minutes while kids talk about cutting through her stomach "like butter."

And you know what she did? Nothing.

"If you don't have anything nice, don't say anything at all," was the only thing she said.

I was seriously yelling at the television, wanting to reach through the screen and slap the little bastards until they apologized to the poor woman huddled uncomfortably in her seat.

Why did she not yell at them? Why did she not punch one of the snotty brats right in the nose? Why, for the love of God, did she not stand up for herself?

It took about three hours for the thought to sober up in my mind. While I plotted my literary revenge, promising this obvious evil would not go unchecked, I realized this video was not evidence of a failing school system, or a generation run amuck, or a complete loss of innocence in our culture, but the exact opposite.

Klein sat there and did nothing while children abused her. She could have used corporal punishment or yelled at the kids to shut up — it would have been reasonable and nobody would have blamed her — but she lived by her own terribly cliché words and cheaply sketched platitudes on her purse and did nothing.

This video is a rare glimpse of the goodness of humanity. Klein embodies everything humanity should be — and Ms. Klein, you look beautiful doing it.

In today's issue:

comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.