More than $42,000 has been raised for the homeless man who was mocked on Sept. 13 by countless social media users after an ill-intentioned video of him shaving on board a New Jersey transit train went viral on Twitter.
The now-deleted video racked up more than 2.4 million views in a matter of days, and many people harshly thrust their critique of the man whom they knew so little about in the comments section.
— NorthJersey.com (@northjersey) September 19, 2018
Whilst we shall spare you from the array of less-than-amicable names Anthony Torres was called, the online uproar revealed a nationwide snap-judging pandemic … one that Anthony and his family feel greatly hurt over.
“I never thought it would go viral, people making fun of me,” says Anthony, reports the Associated Press.
As it turns out, the 56-year-old man had just left a shelter. After Anthony reached out to his family for help, his brother bought him a train fare.
He was on his way from New York City to New Jersey, to stay with his brother, when he was unknowingly filmed shaving on board a train by a fellow commuter.
Anthony says he had not the chance to clean himself up at the shelter, and wanted to look “presentable” for when he reunited with his family.
“I don’t want to say that I’m homeless, let everybody know,” he said. “That’s why I was shaving.”
Although we may all agree that the train is not the best of places to shave, Anthony’s brother, Thomas, reached out to the media in the hopes their side of the story would provide society a little more insight into the troubles his brother has been dealing with.
A man who was mocked in a viral video shares his story. He was mocked online after he was recorded shaving at his seat on a commuter train. https://t.co/AS6SdhKDd7 #viralvideo pic.twitter.com/HtWfmCqNUw
— Air1 News (@air1news) September 18, 2018
“When he did what he did, that to him was normal,” Thomas, 57, said of the shaving incident, adding that his brother now, much like when growing up, has never been able to think things through thoroughly.
“He’s not that kind of person that does it because of spite or because he wants the attention.”
Anthony has a few medical conditions, and has suffered two strokes in the past. Despite the odd job here and there, he does not have stable work, and has been sleeping under bridges, in bus depots, and shelters.
“For so many years, he’s lived this way and I feel sorry for him,” Thomas adds. “It’s hard to see the life that he’s lived.”
“Maybe people will have more feeling knowing what this kid’s been through.”
As unexpected the attention Anthony received was, so too was the benevolent aftermath.
Last week’s update on Anthony’s GoFundMe page reveals that $42,136 was jointly donated by Americans from all 50 states and by kindhearted people from 24 different countries.
“He is planning on purchasing a small trailer so he has a permanent residence,” wrote Jordan Uhl, who set up Anthony’s GoFundMe page.
In light of a recently patched-up GoFundMe fiasco, in which a homeless man received not the entirety of the funds his generous donators had gifted him, and where some funds instead went to the green-eyed New Jersey couple that were later served a dose of justice—the crowd-funding site now has a stricter internal verification procedure, which ensures the funds go to the intended beneficiary.
“Donations from here on will automatically be deposited into his account!” Uhl reassures.
It’s certainly a breath of fresh air to see so much good come out of such an unpleasant incident. We hope all the best for Anthony, and that the outpouring of support from well-wishers can help him back on his feet.
Watch the video below, where Anthony tells his side of the story:
Hairdresser gives free cuts to homeless.