Mike Baird Sold The Big Issue ‘Undercover’ & Learned How Invisible Feels

If you follow NSW Premier Mike Baird‘s social channels, you’ll know he’s a 10/10 bloke: whether he’s live-tweeting The Bachelor (what a time to be alive) or sharing a tear-jerky message of hope for the impact of medicinal cannabis on sick kids, his is one of few genuine voices to rise above the collective gobbledegook of #AusPol.

Being the generally well-liked guy he is, Baird is often greeted by passersby with a wave / wave or a selfie-request as he walks to work at the NSW Government HQ in Sydney’s Martin Place every day – today was very different, though, because he went ‘undercover’ to sell The Big Issue.
It’s something he says he does one morning a year for the past six years (bless), but this particular time is part of a week-long national campaign to shine a spotlight on homelessness and disadvantage.
Wearing the magazine sellers’ uniform of a red hat and fluoro vest, Baird spent the best part of an hour being totally ignored by passersby who no longer recognised him / cared to take notice of him.
“In fact, most people lower their heads and hurry past me, desperate to avoid eye contact,” said Baird in a lengthy Facebook post detailing his jarring experience, which has been shared more than 1,000 times in the last couple of hours. “It isn’t fun being invisible. In fact, it is really lonely.”
Alongside experienced seller Scott Woolfe, Baird managed to sell just 11 copies of The Big Issue, an awesome social enterprise designed to help our homeless and disadvantaged earn some $$$ while they get back on their feet.
Even though that’s its effect, Baird’s intention in sharing his experience was never to inflict guilt – it’s a reminder, he says, that no one should be seen as beneath the basic human kindness of a smile.

“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,” he wrote.

“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.”
The NSW Government is, in 2016 alone, spending $182 million on specialist homelessness services with the help of assisting 54,000 people, but there’s still a long way to go.
Here’s Baird’s post in full:

When you were a kid, did you ever dream of having an invisible cloak?Well, it turns out, it is not all it’s cracked up…

Posted by Mike Baird on Monday, February 1, 2016

So, the next time you walk past a Big Issue seller on your way to / from work, give him or her a wave and a smile. Better yet, buy an issue.
You never know: it could turn a bad day good. 
Source and photo: Facebook / Mike Baird.