‘Don’t judge,’ says man caught shaving on a train

Here’s a piece of advice for people on mass transit who feel entitled to take a picture or video of a fellow rider: Don’t.

The invasion of privacy has been particularly painful for Anthony Torres, 56, of parts unknown.

This is Anthony.

What’s Anthony’s story?

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

He’s homeless and was staying in a shelter. His brother gave him money for a train ticket to his place in New Jersey. He wanted to look presentable.

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

Anthony Torres said he worked a number of different jobs, including casino security guard and then construction. He moved to wherever the work was, like Florida, where his adult son lives. He said he has spent time living in motels or sleeping in bus depots.

Medical conditions have also been a problem, with Torres saying he had two strokes in the past two years.

But Thomas Torres said that, even growing up, his brother would make short-sighted decisions with money, or not think of the impact of his actions, like shaving in public in a train compartment.

“When he did what he did, that to him was normal,” Thomas Torres said. “He’s not that kind of person that does it because of spite or because he wants the attention.”

His voice got tear-filled as he recounted Anthony Torres initially showed up at his home after the train ride asking for a sleeping bag, saying he was prepared to go spend the night under a bridge.

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

He didn’t know he was being filmed and he’s upset that people made fun of him.

“Maybe people will have more feeling knowing what this kid’s been through,” his brother said.

The person who posted the video has deactivated his social network account.

  • jon
  • Al

    How about: Just don’t be a jerk. Full stop. On the train, in the rain, in a box, with a fox. Everywhere.

  • Rob

    Not an invasion of privacy, since the guy is on oublic transit. But taking the photo and spreading it around was a jerk move, undoubtedly.

    • I think you’re confusing the legality of taking the picture with the invasion of privacy.

      • RBHolb

        Not exactly. If you’re doing something in public, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. It’s a jerk move to take the picture and post it, but (legally) it’s not an invasion of privacy.

        • lusophone

          Agree, nobody is invading anyone’s privacy here. You’re on a train, there are certain limits to an expectation of privacy when you’re on a train.

          I personally don’t like to take pictures of people when they are doing strange things in public, but it seems like most people think it was a jerk move recording this because the guy is homeless. What if he wasn’t homeless and just wanted to save some time on his way into work? And he turned to the video and said, yeah, I’m shaving, wtf do you care?

          • RBHolb

            Agreed. It’s a straight up jerk move no matter who does it. If it isn’t bothering anyone else, it is none of their business.

      • Rob

        Sorry, Bob C, but no confusion here. Disrespectful and mean-spirited, yes. But the photo taking was both legal and not an invasion of privacy.

        If the subject of the photo had been on a train with sleeping compartments, and the picture taker had opened the compartment door/curtain to take the photo, that would be an invasion of privacy.

        • JamieHX

          It can be (and was) an invasion of privacy. An act can be an invasion of privacy without LEGALLY being an invasion of privacy.

    • Sybil Twilight

      I believe publication without explicit permission could have potential legal consequences.

      • jon

        There may be a civil suit to be had if some one can be shown to be profiting off the likeness of some one without a formal agreement.

        But in general photography in a public place where there is no expectation of privacy (like a subway car) is legal; there are some exceptions (like the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act of 2004, or any form of videography/photography done for purposes of breaking a law), I don’t think any of the exceptions I know of would apply to this situation…

        • Sybil Twilight

          In general I agree that this seems to fall under the no expectation of privacy in a pubic place. But I’m willing to bet that a smart lawyer, with the right motivation, could make a case that in posting such a video to social media there was some expectation of profit even though that profit might not be monetary.

          • JamieHX

            How did this turn into what is legal or actionable?

      • Rob


  • Gary F

    You don’t need to take a picture of this guy and, I would expect people to question me if I were to do that. It takes five minutes to shave, go to a public restroom at a gas station or something. Poor decision by both parties.

  • chlost

    It is quite telling that his brother refers to him as a “kid”. Obviously, chronologically that is not accurate, which makes me think that he may have a developmental disability. It just goes back to the old adage, “Judge not….”. You just don’t know someone’s story.

    • jon

      In the old folks home my great grandmother used to complain about the kids… not us kids coming to visit her (she loved that) but the 60+ year olds who lived there in the home (usually the ones who weren’t aging as gracefully as great grandma).

      While it was weird to hear 60+ year olds referred to as kids, my great grandmother was 100+ at the time…

      While I still can’t justify calling anyone 60+ a “kid” I could easily justify calling any one 40 years my junior a kid (if they were born yet). I’m only 20 years older than my oldest nephew, and I have no problem thinking of him as a kid (even though he is well into his teenage years… he could be driving already if he had an interest in such things…)

      I don’t know their situation, or the age difference, I do know of families where the age difference between the oldest and the youngest is measured in decades…

      If you live long enough (and keep your mind long enough) and everyone appears to be a “kid”.

  • Bridget L.

    I had not realized that people were ridiculing him. I thought people were impressed with his skill, because shaving on a train takes some talent. People need to reminded it seems, like every 30 seconds, don’t judge someone until you have walked in their shoes. Or the Golden Rule, which is very similar.

    • Barton

      I also thought the point was the skill to not cut himself.