Twitter exploded last week when a user posted a video of a man shaving on a New Jersey transit train, the Associated Press reports. In the video, the man is shown shaving with a full lather as the foam goes onto the floor. Another video shows him clean shaven, and with a beer.
The tweet took off, and received a mixed response. Some responded by calling the man a slob, an animal. Others suggested that judging him was wrong, as there was no way to know the story behind the the video. However, as often happens with viral videos, the subject finds out. Anthony Torres is the man seen shaving in the video, and he wanted to set the record straight.
Welcome to NJ TRANSIT!!! pic.twitter.com/ie9SR2UDnJ
— Pete Bentivegna (@pbenti007) September 13, 2018
Torres was actually experiencing an incredibly vulnerable moment. He had just left a homeless shelter after reaching out to his family for help. He was on his way to a brother’s house after another brother sent him money for a train ticket, and he had not had a chance to shower and shave before leaving the shelter. Twitter users mocked him, but he merely wanted to look presentable when he went home to his family.
“I don’t want to say that I’m homeless, let everybody know,” he said. “That’s why I was shaving.”
Torres’ brother, Thomas Torres, said Anthony has led a difficult life. The two, along with four other brothers, grew up poor on a farm in Hammonton, New Jersey. Anthony has held a number of different jobs, from construction to casino security. He said he tends to move where there’s work, or where he can be near family, like his adult son in Florida.
Before going home to stay with his brother Thomas, Anthony said he has slept in bus depots or motels. His health is poor, and he’s had two strokes in the last few years. Thomas Torres said that Anthony has always been unbothered or unaware of his surroundings.
“When he did what he did, that to him was normal,” Thomas Torres said. “He’s not that kind of person that does it because of spite or because he wants the attention.”
Thomas Torres teared up as he said that Anthony had shown up at his house and asked for a sleeping bag, not expecting to be asked to spend the night. Anthony said he never expected a video of others making fun of him to go viral. The family wanted to share the story in hopes that people might have more sympathy after knowing about Anthony’s history.
Editor’s Note: The featured image for this story is a stock photo.