The premise behind The Big Issue is pretty simple.
The fortnightly magazine helps homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people get back on their feet. It celebrates 20 years in Australia this year.
But they have to work for it, buying copies for $3.50 each and selling them for $7 on the street, pocketing the difference.
The rest of the money goes towards a range of social programs to help people.
This morning NSW premier Mike Baird donned the hi-vis vest worn by Big Issue sellers and took to one of Sydney’s business thoroughfares.
It was a sobering reminder of how it feels to be homeless on the streets of the nation’s biggest city.
Baird’s just explained on Facebook that it was like wearing an invisible cloak. The country’s most popular politician is used to being constantly stopped and spoken to and asked for selfies.
Today, people lowered their heads and hurried past instead. It was a shock, but not a surprise for the premier, who’s sold copies of The Big Issue on the street once a year for the past six years.
And he was reminded that he was just as guilty of doing the same thing, saying:
It isn’t fun being invisible. In fact, it is really lonely.
I don’t write this to make you feel bad. I’ve done it all too often myself.
I’ve lowered my head instead of greeting my fellow humans with a smile. I’ve been too busy to stop. I’ve felt embarrassed. I’ve felt inconvenienced. Even annoyed.
Today is a reminder for me to slow down a little. To have time for everyone, regardless of their attire or status. And it’s a reminder that our homeless shouldn’t be invisible.
During his time with Scotty, The Big Issue seller in Martin Place, Baird managed to sell 11 copies. That’s nearly $40 for Scotty this morning with help from a man who manages a $500 billion economy.
Here’s what Baird had to say on Facebook.