NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A man who was mocked online after he was recorded shaving at his seat on a commuter train headed out of New York City said he was just trying to clean up after days spent in a homeless shelter.

Anthony Torres, 56, told The Associated Press that the people judging him on social media don’t know the struggles he’s been through in his life.

“My life is all screwed up. That’s the reason I was shaving on the train,” he said.

Fellow passenger Pete Bentivegna filmed Torres, sitting in his seat on the New Jersey Transit train, steadily swiping away at his lathered face and tossing the shaving cream from the razor onto the floor. The two videos, posted on Twitter, had 2.4 million views by Monday afternoon. Another video showed a clean-shaven Torres with a beer in his hand.

The self-grooming earned its share of negative comments on the internet, with insults like “slob,” ”animal” and “nasty.” Others humorously lauded his steady hand with a razor. A few cautioned against passing judgment and suggested people didn’t know the whole story.

MORE: Quick Shave Goes Viral For NJ TRANSIT Rider

The truth, Torres said, is that the video captured him at a vulnerable moment. He had been homeless and staying in a shelter in New York City. He’d reached out to his family for help. A brother gave him money for a train ticket, which he was using to get to another brother in southern New Jersey.

Torres grabbed the Northeast Corridor train from Manhattan’s Pennsylvania Station around 7 p.m. Thursday, headed toward Trenton, New Jersey.

He said he left the shelter before having a chance to shower and clean up and wanted to look “presentable.”

“I don’t want to say that I’m homeless, let everybody know,” he said. “That’s why I was shaving.”

Torres has had a hard life, said his brother Thomas Torres, 57, whose house in Atco, New Jersey, was where the younger Torres ended up after the train ride and a subsequent bus trip.

They grew up poor with four other brothers, raised on a farm in Hammonton, New Jersey, about 35 miles outside Philadelphia.

Anthony Torres said he worked a number of different jobs, including casino security guard and then construction. He moved to wherever the work was, like Florida, where his adult son lives. He said he has spent time living in motels or sleeping in bus depots.

Medical conditions have also reportedly been a problem, with Torres claiming he had two strokes in the past two years.

Thomas Torres said that, even growing up, his brother would make short-sighted decisions with money, or not think of the impact of his actions, like shaving in public in a train compartment.

“When he did what he did, that to him was normal,” the older Torres said. “He’s not that kind of person that does it because of spite or because he wants the attention.”

His voice got tear-filled as he recounted when Anthony initially showed up at his home after the train ride and asked for a sleeping bag; saying he was prepared to go spend the night under a bridge.

“For so many years, he’s lived this way and I feel sorry for him. It’s hard to see the life that he’s lived,” Thomas said.

Anthony Torres said he didn’t realize he was being filmed on the train. When he found out the video was circulating on the internet, he was amazed and a little upset.

“I never thought it would go viral, people making fun of me,” he said.

Thomas Torres said they reached out to the media because he thought it was important for people to hear his brother’s side.

“Maybe people will have more feeling knowing what this kid’s been through,” he said.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (29)
  1. Stehr Va says:

    He had been homeless and staying in a shelter in New York City. He’d reached out to his family for help. A brother gave him money for a train ticket, which he was using to get to another brother in southern New Jersey.
    Good for his family to help him. This is what is wrong with our society any more-families abandon one another. You are supposed to be able to depend on your family for help when you need it. Glad to see his is helping.
    People-walk a mile in someone else’s footsteps before you pass judgement. This could happen to anyone of us and you do not have what you have for any other reasong than the Lord gave it to you.

  2. I have not problem with him shaving. But slapping the shaving cream for someone else to clean up is where I have an issue. HE did not care for others either.

  3. Gracie Shepard says:

    The man is a disgusting pig, clear and simple. Throwing shaving cream on the floor of the train. Why didn’t he use the train station bathroom?

  4. Daniel MacDonald says:

    Typical NY liberals with their bleeding hearts to defend against injustice until it is right in front of them and then they will squeal like little piglets if they actually have to see someone going through a hard time. Leftism is a goddamn cancer in this country and it is getting more and more deadly.

  5. Gentleman inpa says:

    Philips Norelco shaver!, duh!

  6. Chris Pearson says:

    Awwww, Let’s start a Gofundme and assuage our guilt.

  7. jabusse says:

    I was caught Peeing on the floor of a super club. so what, they deserve it.

  8. Robert Martin says:

    I’ve seen lots of men shaving with an electric shaver while driving to work. Not all that long ago used to see women drive to work in hot curlers and putting on makeup. Also seen people brush their teeth while driving on occasion.

  9. Dave Berry says:

    I was sitting in a Hospital waiting room and a woman came in, sat down cross legged, took off her shoes and commenced to trimming her toenails. Lovely.

  10. Jerylyn Bridgeford says:

    What has happened to people today that they don’t recognize and empathize with someone in genuine need of compassion? Everyone of those critical folks should be thanking God that they aren’t in similar straights. This man has lost everything including his dignity. Give him a break.

  11. Patrick Ruttster says:

    a couple of days in a homeless shelter but the pig couldn’t shave there? Don’t feel sorry for someone like this. What he did shows an all too common “f everyone else” mentality in America.

  12. Johnny Chimpo says:

    There are toilets on these trains – two or three on each train and they have a sink and running water. No one needs to shave in a seat and fling the mess around.

  13. Still without cutting himself..Damn good job.

  14. Dude, you are a bum in 49 out of 50 states. Move to LA, become a mobile voter and be able to leave feces in the street with impunity knowing people earning 6 figures to clean up behind you. Move to loser central and live the dream.

  15. Suzanne York says:

    He’s living in the wrong city- San Francisco is the place for this man!

  16. That pic of a lady shaving her legs in a hotel swimming pool that made the rounds a few months ago bothered me. A homeless man cleaning up? not so much.

  17. Jack Inmanz says:

    There, but for the grace of God, you a$$holes.

  18. could be worse–i saw a guy washing his balls in the sink @ penn station

  19. He could have shaved anywhere. He didn’t need to do it in his seat on the train. It was disgusting and unsanitary. This has nothing to do with homelessness.

  20. Xandros Nj says:

    I think I understand why he is unemployed

  21. eshults5 says:

    Those commuter trains are filthy anyway. People are actually worried about the hygiene of this man while they sit in a petri dishes of bacteria and disease.

  22. Michael Blake says:

    The jobless rate is the lowest it’s been in decades. If this guy doesn’t have a job it’s because he doesn’t want to work.

  23. Mike Silverstein says:

    Nobody annoyed the guy was shaving. Its where he was shaving that disgusts people. He was on a computer train and they have bathrooms. They also have bathrooms in the train depot.

  24. Kurt Frommd says:

    I wouldn’t want to sit next to this guy either. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t want to sit close to his seat even after he left the train. Love the way he was cleaning his razor… a few good taps and the shaving remains flew all over the place.

  25. Dorothy Frick says:

    I can think of thousands of things to be outraged about; this man shaving is not one.

    1. Brent Gerber says:

      so true dorothy. feel sorry for his situation.

  26. Rogue Scholar says:

    I am not upset he was cleaning himself but they said he was dropping his shaving cream on the floor and that is dangerous to others walking. Anyone’s rights end when they violate someone else’s right to walk with slipping!

  27. people don’t understand the struggle… *sigh* – and I am serious…

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