A passenger secretly paid an Uber driver’s $700 college debt, and now she’s a college graduate.
Latonya Young is a single mother who works during the day as a hairstylist and at night as an Uber driver. But Young has much bigger goals like her dream of becoming a lawyer, which she is now closer to after one stranger’s grand gesture. The 43-year-old picked up a passenger outside of Atlanta’s Benz Stadium, and they struck up a conversation during the ride.
Young opened up to the passenger about how she became a mother at the age of 16 and had to drop out of school to raise her child. She went on to tell the rider that she also had to postpone college due to a $700 balance that she couldn’t pay off. “Every time I got ready to pay the money, my kids needed something,” Young said, recounting the story to WSB. “I said, ‘OK, I’ll just wait.'”
But to her surprise, the bill was taken care of just a few days later. Young received a call from Georgia State University, who told her that she is able to register for classes. The passenger has since been identified as Kevin Esch. Young went on to receive her Associates Degree in Criminal Justice. “Literally, I was blown away,” Young said. “A stranger has never done that — or done anything like that — for me.”
Young said the man’s kind act only motivated her more to finish school. “I maintained my grades, As and Bs, just trying to make sure he knows I appreciate him,” she said. The two ended up keeping in touch, and Esch even attended Young’s graduation in December. Esch reportedly said Young is an inspiration, and he feels blessed to have been able to help her.
Andrea Anne Jones, a spokesperson at Georgia State University told CNN in a statement, “Kevin Esch has been justifiably applauded and heralded for providing the funds to enable Georgia State student Latonya Young to earn a college degree, but his gift is so much bigger than that. With it, he has changed a life and opened a door to a brighter future for a student who, like so many others we see at Georgia State, simply needs a chance to achieve and succeed.” Young will be back in class this month to pursue her bachelor’s degree.