Homeless Man Shaving on Train Goes Viral Because Humans Are Terrible and Social Media Was a Mistake

Anthony Torres, who was featured in a viral video over the weekend shaving on a train
Anthony Torres, who was featured in a viral video over the weekend shaving on a train
Photo: Associated Press

The world is a cruel place. And nobody knows that better than Anthony Torres, a 56-year-old man in New York who was recently the butt of jokes when a video of him shaving on a train went viral. Torres talked with the Associated Press and explained that he doesn’t have a home right now and had just spent a few days in a homeless shelter.


“My life is all screwed up. That’s the reason I was shaving on the train,” Torres told the Associated Press.

The video shows Torres shaving on a train out of New York heading for New Jersey and went viral with over 2.5 million views on Twitter and Facebook. The person who originally posted the video has since deleted it, but not before trying to license it to media outlets. Websites like NJ.com helped the video spread by licensing it, though it’s not clear how much money exchanged hands.


“I never thought it would go viral, people making fun of me,” Torres told the Associated Press.

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.”

A fundraising account has been started on GoFundMe for Torres by Jordan Uhl and has raised over $4,000 as of this morning. Uhl says that if Torres doesn’t want the money for some reason it will be distributed “to a shelter or facility that assists people transitioning out of homelessness in his area.”

People experiencing homelessness have no real sense of privacy as they attempt to navigate the streets with dignity. Basic human functions like using the restroom or shaving are extremely difficult to do in a manner that society deems acceptable.


Most advanced countries have things like public restrooms where people have the opportunity to do something like use the toilet without shame. America doesn’t have a broad cultural tradition of public restrooms outside of private businesses, leaving people in urban spaces to often do private things publicly in the streets.

There are currently over 61,000 people experiencing homelessness in New York, according to the Coalition For the Homeless. That’s the highest level since the Great Depression. 22,384 of those homeless New Yorkers are children.


And the statistics for homelessness in the rest of the United States are just as depressing. Last year, a study found that 553,742 Americans were living on the streets on one given night. The biggest cause is a lack of affordable housing, something that’s exacerbated by flat wages and a lack of universal health care in the U.S.

The stock market is booming and the “economy” is doing well, as President Trump keeps reminding us. But the “economy” can be measured in many different ways. And with the Republican tax cuts acting as an enormous transfer of wealth from the poorest Americans to the richest, the problem of homelessness isn’t going to be solved anytime soon.


Wages on Wall Street are now the highest they’ve been since 2008, with the average salary in the financial industry clocking in at $422,500. Meanwhile, America has the worst minimum wage of any wealthy nation and no real social safety net to speak of, as people like Ben Carson, the Trump regime’s head of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), buy $31,000 dining sets on the taxpayer’s dime.

There are over half a million people like Torres living on the streets of America on any given night. So maybe don’t record them without their permission and post that video online so that others can ridicule them with you.


It’s incredibly difficult being homeless, even before you’re mocked mercilessly on social media for just trying to feel a little bit better about yourself.

[Associated Press]


Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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To be fair the video was made in the vein of all the incredibly rude and inconsiderate behavior of many NJ Transit riders in combination with awful and inconsistent service. See twitter feed FuckNJTransit for more.

I don’t believe at all the person who recorded the video was intending to shame a homeless person.

But with all that said; people should stop filming people with their phones it’s rude AF