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Best of 2012: Fighting for car owners a passion for Eric Lai

Revealing e-test loophole to dismay of Drive Clean is like a badge of honour.

When asked to share my favourite Wheels-related memory for the year, I initially declined, because no earth-shattering moment came to mind.

But I’ve since come to realize that life’s biggest lessons often come in small doses you don’t really notice.

By all accounts, 2012 didn’t start well for me. Dad was in hospital five months from a stroke, and a friend, whose wife was pregnant, was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

In those dark days, writing for Wheels kept me sane. And I put out some of my best work ever.

On a road trip, I met two up-and-coming Canadian singers, who shared that performing was their passion and what they truly enjoyed doing.

Well, for me, chasing down stories, being opinionated, challenging smug officials, and fighting for consumers are what I truly enjoy doing. At Wheels, I can do that with the confidence of knowing my boss and The Star are behind me.

Believe me; I’ve had jobs where a kick in the pants was more likely than a pat on the back, so I know what a blessing this is.

I recently told readers they could avoid the new, tougher e-test coming in 2013 by having their test (valid for one year) done now. I later learned Drive Clean officials weren’t happy I’d uncovered this loophole, which is a badge of honour to me.

Call me William Wallace, because I’ll paint my face blue and scream “freedom” as I yield my sword — well, pen, which is mightier — in my continued fight against e-test oppression of the people.

As for dad, he’s still recovering but has limited mobility, and my friend met his healthy newborn son before passing. I take both as small blessings.

I used to enjoy driving new cars, but recently bought a “winter beater” so my muddy-footed dogs could enjoy their park walks.

Maybe we all need the occasional reminder that wealth and appearances aren’t that important, and love, health, kindness and purposefulness in life are what brings true joy — as does seeing my blissful dogs bounding through the park.

  • Best of 2012: Fighting for car owners a passion for Eric Lai

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