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Once mocked for shaving on a train, Anthony Torres has gone from homeless to hopeful.
Torres gained fame when a video of him shaving on a train went viral, earning him ridicule at first, and then support.
After donations for him poured in, Torres says he now has a home and is turning his life around.
As he sat aboard an evening train headed for New Jersey in September, Anthony Torres couldn’t have known that his life would be turned upside down.
Surrounded by fellow passengers and face white with shaving cream, Torres passed a disposable razor under his chin, then across his cheeks and finally down his upper lip, meticulously going through the grooming process. Across the aisle from him sat another passenger, cellphone out and dutifully recording this strange interaction unfolding before his very eyes.
As things do in the age of smartphones, Torres’ actions quickly spread across social media, turning him into a viral punching bag. But after having suffered the ignominy of cruelty, Torres’ fortunes are now looking up.
What many missed amid the outrage, disgust and criticism that followed the clip of Torres, was the man behind the video.
Torres, it turned out, was homeless at the time.
The night he boarded the train to New Jersey, he was on his way to his brother’s home in Trenton, having boarded from Manhattan’s Pennsylvania Station.
Prior to that, Torres had spent days in a homeless shelter, leaving before he had a chance to shower and clean up. He resorted to the on-train shave because he wanted to look “presentable” for his brother.
After revealing the reason behind his actions on the train, Torres was showered with an outpouring of support that translated into a GoFundMe campaign.
“I appreciate everything they did for me,” he said.
These days, the 56-year-old no longer has to shave on a train.
Instead, he’s living in a rented room, feeling confident, full of life and no longer humiliated by the video that plastered his face across the Internet.
“I sleep good. I got my own room. I lock my own door. I got my own key,” Torres said.
Torres’ brother, Dash, is helping him be fiscally responsible by handling the donations collected through the GoFundMe campaign.
He is using the money to save for a mobile home, which he hopes to be able to buy in January.
That purchase would make the once-homeless man a first-time homebuyer.
In the aftermath of his newfound good fortune, Torres, who regularly attends church, remains humble and thankful.
“God gave me this second chance, I don’t care what anybody said,” he told NBC10. “I turned towards the Lord and this time it’s for real.”