Anthony Torres has been identified as the man caught on film shaving on a New Jersey transit train. The video of Torres shaving — taken by his fellow passenger, Pete Bentivegna, on Thursday — went viral on social media. You can see it here.
When the video of Torres went viral, nobody knew who the man shaving in the video was. Social media users went wild over the video, though, throwing jokes around, and commiserating about how unsanitary the trains are these days. Little did they know that Torres, a man with plenty of troubles of his own, had been badly stung by their comments. But a few days later, Torres gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he explained how he came to be riding — and shaving — on the train that day.
1. Torres Had Been Living in a Homeless Shelter in New York and Was on His Way to Visit His Brother in New Jersey
Torres told the Associated Press that he ended up shaving on the train because he didn’t want to look like a mess when he showed up to see his brother in New Jersey.
Torres had been living in a homeless shelter in New York for some time before he finally decided to call one of his brothers for help. His brother gave him enough money to catch a train to Trenton, New Jersey, where he planned to visit Thomas Torres, another of his brothers (Anthony comes from a large family; he has four brothers in all). Torres said he wanted to look decent when he showed up at his brother’s door. “I don’t want to say that I’m homeless, let everybody know,” he told AP. “That’s why I was shaving.”
The video gave rise to mockery on social media, with many twitter users calling Torres an “animal” or worse. One social media user laughed at the whole situation by overdubbing the “Gillette” theme song behind the video of Torres shaving. (You can see that https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>here.)
2. Torres Grew Up on a Farm in Hammonton, New Jersey
Torres’s brother, Thomas, also spoke to the Associated Press. He said Torres and his brother had all grown up poor, living on a farm in Hammonton, New Jersey not far from Philadelphia. But Thomas said that, while the other four brothers had done okay, Anthony had always been a bit of a drifter and a wildcard, who wasn’t always aware of how he appeared to others.
Anthony said that he’s had a number of odd jobs throughout his life. He’s been a casino security guard, and he’s worked in construction. He’s moved around a lot from town to town and, according to the AP, has spent time living in motels or sleeping in bus depots.
He has a son down in Florida, where he’s also spent some time.
3. Anthony Said He Was Hurt When He Saw the Video of Him Had Gone Viral
Anthony and his brother Thomas reached out to reporters after they learned that the video of Anthony shaving had gone viral on social media. “I never thought it would go viral, people making fun of me,” said Anthony.
The brothers said they hoped that when people learned Anthony’s story, they would feel more sympathetic towards him. “Maybe people will have more feeling knowing what this kid’s been through,” said Thomas, hopefully.
4. A Second Video of Anthony Drinking Beer and Talking About Jersey City Also Went Viral
A second video, also caught on camera by Pete Bentivegna, shows a freshly-shaven Anthony sitting in his seat and drinking from a big can of beer. The train must be passing Atlantic City because Torres starts to talk loudly about the gambling destination.
“Let’s go, Atlantic City,” he says. “Frantic City. I want to go to Frantic City. Everyone’s scared of each other out there.” Then he raises his beer can high and gives a weird, high-pitched squeal.
Pete Bentivegna, who put these videos on twitter, went through some extra trouble just to edit out the clip of Torres raising his can up so that he could put that clip up as a separate video.
5. For Now, Torres Is Staying in New Jersey With His Brother Thomas
Thomas got choked up when he told reporters that Anthony didn’t initially ask if he could stay at his house. Instead, Anthony asked Thomas to lend him a sleeping bag so that he could go and sleep under the bridge. Instead, Thomas took him in.
Thomas said his brother had suffered from many health problems in his life and had experienced two strokes in the past two years.