A mean-spirited social media video has turned into a blessing for one homeless man who was down on his luck last week.
Because he suffers from several medical conditions and injuries, 56-year-old Anthony Torres has been homeless, hungry, and unable to work. Over the course of the last few weeks, he was robbed and mugged twice, and after struggling on the streets of several cities, he finally phoned his brother for help. He received some money from his sibling and bought a train ticket to stay with another brother in New Jersey.
Torres wanted to clean himself up so he could look nice and presentable for his brother and family, so he pulled out a razor, lathered himself up and started shaving on the NJ Transit train.
His fellow passenger, Pete Bentivegna, then started filming him shaving so he could post the video to social media.
The initial online reaction was harsh. People mocked Torres for being a “slob” – but then when he heard about the video, Torres started broadcasting his message through national news outlets and asking people not to judge him for being down on his luck.
Days later, the internet tide had turned. A man named Jordan Uhl created a GoFundMe page to raise money for Torres. Ashamed social media users made donations and offered up their apologies and letters of encouragement.
Over $41,000 has been raised in just one week, most of which has already been deposited into Torres’s account – and there are more donations pouring in every day.
The passenger who posted the video of Torres shaving has apologized for the incident. He has now licensed the video so that he can donate all of the proceeds to Torres and his family.
Additionally, Torres has received dozens of job offers, and while he is unable to accept them based on his disabilities, he says he is grateful for the kindness.
Most importantly, however, he feels that he has gotten his dignity back.
“I fee so happy,” Torres told The Washington Post. “I feel like a new man.”
“He’s gone through hell his whole life,” his brother added. “I think this is an eye-opener for him, to see that so many people care about him.”
While Torres is currently safe and sound with his family, he plans on using the money to buy himself a mobile home so he can now have guaranteed shelter wherever he goes.
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