The moment I cracked open the old box, memories started to pour out, unstoppable.

There were yellowed issues of National Geographic Traveler going back to the late 1990s, before I became the magazine’s reader advocate. There were early 2000s editions of The New York Times, when I wrote for the business section. And I even found a few clippings from the Wall Street Journal, when I penned the Abreast of the Market column in the early 90s.

There are a dozen boxes like this in my garage, each brimming with memories. The thrill of helping a reader right next to the agony of a published correction — it was all there.

But as I rifled through the events, I wondered: Were the 25 years I spent as a consumer advocate worth it? Or should I have done something else? Maybe law school? Underwater welding?

I picked up one of the stories and started to read what I wrote so many years ago. Almost every article featured a real consumer who ran into some kind of problem and got help. Often, there was a happy ending.

And I thought, “If I could help just one person, then the answer is ‘yes’ — it was worth it.”

I believe that now more than ever. I’ll keep fighting for you for as long as I can. I know the advocates I work with feel the same way.

This is not a career. It’s not a job. It’s a calling.

If you need help, I’ll be here for you. Now. Then. And in the future. You know how to reach me.

Here are this week’s stories:

Thank you for all your support during this transition in my life and career. I’m eternally grateful.

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