A 43-year-old single mother is finishing her college degree thanks to the generosity of a stranger she met during an Uber ride.
Latonya Young, 43, is a single mom working two jobs to support her family. Putting her children’s needs above her own, Young has set aside her academic goals more than once.
At 16, Young dropped out of high school after the birth of her son. She has been working as a hairstylist during the day and making extra money in the evening as an Uber driver.
The Atlanta mother was taking college courses at Georgia State University but could not afford to pay off the $700 balance on her account.
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) January 2, 2020
“Every time I got ready to pay the money, my kids needed something. I said, ‘OK, I’ll just wait,” Young told WSB-TV.
So Young dropped out of GSU, continuing to work as usual, until the trajectory of her life changed after one short Uber ride.
Young met Uber passenger Kevin Esch, whom she picked up outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The pair got to talking, and Young mentioned that her college journey was on pause for the time being because of money.
A few days later, Young received a phone call from Georgia State that left her stunned. Her $700 balance had been paid in full, and she was eligible to continue taking classes.
“And the message stated, ‘You can register for classes now.’ I was literally blown away,” Young said. “A stranger has never done that — or done anything like that — for me.”
Young returned to school and earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice.
In December, Esch was at her graduation from Georgia State, proud of the woman he called an “inspiration.”
“When he paid the balance, I had to do this for him,” Young said. “I maintained my grades, A’s and B’s. Just trying to do everything to make sure he knows I appreciate him.”
This month, Young will be back in the classroom to pursue her bachelor’s degree, all thanks to a stranger who encouraged her not to give up.
“This one changed my life. That one ride,” Young said.
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