ATCO, N.J. (CBS) — A man at the center of a viral video– showing him shaving on an NJ Transit train opens up to Eyewitness News to offer his explanation.
Anthony Torres knows it wasn’t his finest moment captured on NJ Transit train last Thursday. He was shaving at his seat and flicked the whiskers on the floor. Millions have watched Torres on social media. Many calling the 56-year-old names, like a selfish slob.
“Why were you shaving on a train instead of a bathroom or somewhere else? Because I just got out of a shelter, felt dirty, didn’t take a shower, didn’t shave,” said Anthony.
Anthony had just run out of eligible days in a Manhattan homeless shelter and been assaulted on the street. He called his brother Ed in Hammonton for help, and wanted to look somewhat presentable before showing up at his other brother Tom’s house in Atco.
“Were you self-conscious when this was going on? Did you think maybe people will think this is gross,” asked reporter Cleve Bryan.
“No, I wanted to get clean,” said Antony.
Anthony says he asked a Transit employee about a bathroom and was told “no,” so he did what he did.
Ed Torres says he doesn’t condone his brother’s behavior but hopes people understand he’s a partially blind diabetic who suffered several strokes, and numerous problems in life.
“When he flicked it that kind of surprised me but that’s Anthony, I mean I been around him all his life. He doesn’t hurt anybody, he would never hurt anybody. He’d give somebody his last dime,” said Ed.
Once an Atlantic City blackjack dealer, Anthony has struggled with homelessness for almost 30 years and came to Atco intending to borrow a sleeping bag so he could sleep on the streets closer to home.
“He didn’t even want to stay here at my house cause he feels like a burden to all of us. So he said can I come here and get the sleeping bag and go to Philly to sleep under the bridge,” said Tom. “It just bothered me to see that. How can I lay my head on my pillow knowing that he’s sleeping under a bridge?”
Anthony says for those who see the video, he wants them to know he wasn’t trying to be rude.
“I wasn’t thinking, I should have wiped the shaving cream that was on the floor, but I wasn’t thinking,” he said.
The Torres brothers say they’re glad to have Anthony home but they know he could end up homeless again. Anthony says he will be more careful where he shaves.
Experts say judging that book, or in this case, Anthony Torres, is so much easier in today’s digital age.
“I think that social media has probably shortened our attention span and increased our impulsiveness,” said Temple professor and psychologist Frank Farley.
Farley says he’s not surprised by the initial reaction.
“We make a judgment we just met very quickly often in the first few seconds,” said Farley.
But he says, especially online, it’s best to take a beat before typing that negative response.
“Let’s slow down a little bit and not be so impulsive in making our decisions,” says Farley.