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The Internet Mocked Him For Shaving On The Train, But His Brother Is Putting Them In Their Place

Pete Bentivegna - Twitter

Last week, New Jersey commuter Pete Bentivegna caught a bizarre commuting moment on video, and decided to share it with the world.

As Bentivegna taped, the man in the seat beside him spread shaving cream on his face, pulled out a razor, and got to work.

The stunned onlooker called it "one of the strangest things I've seen" in almost two decades of commuting.

As Bentivegna's video spread from person to person - racking up 2 million views in less than a day - many commenters said they were "grossed out" by the display.

Others called Torres a "pig" or "slob," while New Jersey Transit scolded him for breaking their rules by shaving on board.

But days later, the man in the video spoke out, revealing there's more to his story than what you see in the embarrassing clip.

Anthony Torres, 56, says he is homeless, and only wanted to look "presentable" after spending days in a shelter.

"My life is all screwed up," he told the Associated Press. "That's the reason I was shaving on the train."

Torres says he has struggled since the recession in 2008, sometimes finding work in odd jobs but still sleeping rough on the streets or in a shelter.

He also claims to have suffered a pair of strokes in recent years.

After living in a New York City shelter, Torres was given money for a train ticket to New Jersey by his brother.

Torres said his family didn't know he was homeless, and he wanted to give them the impression that he was doing well.

"I don’t want to say that I’m homeless, let everybody know. That’s why I was shaving."

Of course, Torres couldn't disguise his condition for long, and after the train ride he asked his brother Thomas for a sleeping bag, to camp under a nearby bridge.

"For so many years he’s lived this way and I feel sorry for him," Thomas said. "It’s hard to see the life that he’s lived."

As for the viral video, Torres said he didn't realize anyone was filming him, and "never thought" anyone would make fun of him for shaving in public.

"The negative comments don't bother me," he insisted on the BBC's Outside Source. But Torres agreed that he "maybe shouldn't have thrown the shaving cream" on the floor of the train.

"When he did what he did, that to him was normal," Thomas said about his brother. "He's not that kind of person that does it because of spite or because he wants the attention."

Of course, plenty of social media users responded to the news with kind thoughts and well wishes for Torres, as well as offers to help him get back on his feet.

"We never know the'whole story,'" wrote Wendy McClelland. "In this age of viral video innocent actions are misconstrued and can damage people. Let's be more careful."

In just over a day, a GoFundMe page started for Torres has collected more than $27,000 in an "assistance fund" for him.

Pete Bentivegna, the video's original poster, also said he'll be using the video's popularity to help Torres.

"I never intended any harm by taking or posting this video," he wrote. "There has been a lot of licensing interest and all proceeds will be going to support Anthony Torres and his family."

You can support the GoFundMe page for Anthony Torres here.

[H/T: Chicago Tribune, Indy 100]

This story reminds me of that old lesson, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Do you agree?

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com