A Tribute to Karen

As a 46 year old man, I realize that I can fall victim to a generation gap. I often get told things like: “That was then, this is now”, “Things are different now”, and other such comments. It’s difficult for me sometimes. I never thought I would be one of those people who mused about how music, movies, art, and society in general is circling the proverbial drain. I have since learned to embrace that role. I have come to discover today that there IS apparently something going out of style: chivalry, etiquette, and pure and simple respect. Such traits are apparently not only circling the drain, they are down the tubes and causing an intolerable, pungent clog. The most recent evidence of this comes in the story of a local area bus monitor named Karen Klein.
Karen Klein is a 68 year-old bus monitor working in the school district of Greece, NY (my neighborhood). Karen was doing her job as she has dutifully done for years on a somewhat meager salary. Sadly, during the course of a routine bus ride, several students from Greece Athena Middle School became criminally unruly. That’s right, folks. I said MIDDLE school. I am talking about students ranging in age from 12 – 15 years old. I know we all wish to think that kids go to school and behave like angels. Let me remind you of one Biblical fact – Lucifer was an angel too.
Karen sat in her seat amongst these students with incredible decorum. When it came to etiquette and respect, Karen lead by example. The incorrigible students thought it was better to show another example of behavior. These students hurled one profane remark after another at Karen. They insulted her about her weight, made jokes about committing sexual acts with her, and threatened her with violence. More than once, one of the students literally poked at her. One student even implied that her kids should commit suicide. By sad coincidence, Karen had already lost a son to suicide. As if this was not all enough, the students were apparently so proud of their behavior, they shot video footage that went on for 10 minutes and uploaded it to YouTube.
This is where things began to unravel somewhat for these mutinous miscreants. Once the video footage hit the Internet, it went VIRAL. The video got more than 100,000 hits from as far away as Australia. People from all over the world have reached out to the school district regarding the video. What’s more, the local police have promised to assist in the investigation. I truly hope that every student involved in this reprehensible behavior receives swift and severe disciplinary action. Perhaps, they can do community service cleaning stalls at the Seneca Park Zoo. After all, why not let animals take care of their own. Furthermore, I would like to see every student involved present Karen Klein with a rose and an apology. This ceremonial policy should take place on camera with their mothers present. Make these students face their actions, face their mothers, face Karen Klein, and ultimately face the world. It seems only fitting since they apparently enjoy a worldwide audience.
I should point out that there is SOME good outcome from all this. Someone started a fundraiser on the Internet to fund a vacation for Karen Klein. The fundraising goal was $5,000. As of this writing, more than $43,000 has been raised on behalf of Karen Klein. The link for the fundraiser is at http://igg.me/p/124322.
To the reprehensible students: May you face a severe penalty for your behavior. I also hope that your mother, grandmother, sister, and future spouse is NEVER subjected to such behavior. May your future children never commit such acts.
To the school district and local authorities: I am sure you all continue to work very hard daily to keep our kids out of the gutter. Clearly, the gutter must also be cleaned out.
To Karen Klein: Thank you for your years of service. I hope you enjoy your well-deserved vacation. I hope that you encounter a random young teenager who will kiss your cheek and hug your neck. Chivalry is not dead. It’s just the reinforcement of chivalry that is lacking.


3 thoughts on “A Tribute to Karen

  1. Shane, well said. So many children are being raised without boundaries by a parent or parents who are "too busy", too "stressed", too "tired" to pay attention to their kids. Factor in the "pack mentality" and an effort to be "cool" and even the most "decent" kids are afraid to stand up for what is right. Although a single parent, my children were exposed to quite a few older/elderly people as they grew. My boys mowed their lawns, carried their groceries and listened to their stories. Maybe after a stiff sentence of cleaning up elephant, rhino and monkey poop, these kids could finish out their community service working one on one with an elderly person for a couple of weeks.

  2. Thank you for your comments, Jane. I should clarify that the suggestion of cleaning up at the zoo is my own and not necessarily the view of anyone involved in the investigation. I DO like the way you expanded upon it.Shane

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