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.

Psst! I'm only going to show this once.

Psst! I'm only going to show this once.

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