The crèche I had an agreement with, finally opened. I had worked in Point Road for two and a half years; travelling in and out of one of the most infamous parts of Durban. The children had won my heart and I was sad when my time was up.
The church crèche was a disaster for me. It wasn’t a happy place and the teachers were all really uptight. I stuck it out but it was hard to get up in the mornings.
After 9 months and just before I went insane, I got a half day receptionist job in a building society in Yellowwood Park. It was combined with an estate agency. It was a small branch and from day one I clicked with the “naughty” estate agents. They reminded me of the kids I was working with; they lied, they always wanted their own way, they played “I’m the king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal,” manipulated and seemed to be fixated on underwear and private parts.
They would constantly ask me to lie for them. I somehow managed to get around it until the day my boss told me to tell a client he wasn’t in. I put the call through anyway and he wasn’t happy. He called me into his office and asked me to close the door. He was upset. He asked me what had happened and why. I lovingly and calmly told him that I would not be lying for him or any of the agents. If they wanted to lie, they could do their own dirty work. I pointed out to him that he could trust me. If I wasn’t prepared to lie for him, he could be certain that I wouldn’t lie to him. If he was happy with that deal, then I would be happy to stay on. If not, I would have to leave. He was happy with the deal. The agents just had to agree.
I loved them and they loved me. I could say anything to them because of that love. When they were getting out of hand with their jokes I would ask them, with a smile on my face, to please close their door and they did. They listened and asked questions about my faith. We laughed at ourselves and each other. They gave me a hard time and teased me until we closed shop at the end of the day.
I went back years later to visit them. The lady at the front desk asked me my name. With a big smile on her face she said, “Oh, THE Linda Lowe; the one who wouldn’t lie. I’ve heard about you.”
I found it funny that a simple thing like honesty had made such a big impression.