Latonya Young, a 43-year-old single mother of three, has worked on her associate’s degree in criminal justice since 2010. However, despite being on track to graduate, she could not, due to a $700 debt to the university. So, she started working as an Uber driver, providing for her family while slowly paying off the debt.
Then, one Uber passenger changed everything. To pass the time during the drive, Young and her passenger got to know each other very well, revealing their deepest struggles. Afterward, the passenger went on to pay the driver’s college debt so she could finish school. Now, the Uber driver has earned her degree and is thanking the man who helped her…
The Amazing Act
The incredible gesture all started when the passenger, named Kevin Esch, entered Young’s car. Over their short ride together, the two had a great conversation. “He got in the car and was really happy and talkative. I’m a people person too, so I always try to talk to people in my car,” Young remembered.
During the ride, the conversation personal, and the two shared their inner struggles. For his part, Esch talked about his recent divorce. As Young had been through a divorce before, she offered her advice. Meanwhile, Young shared how she dropped out of high school before having her first child at 18, and how she dreamed of graduating, but could not yet pay off her debt. At the end of the ride, Esch tipped his Uber driver $120, and the two didn’t see each other again.
However, long after the ride, Young and her debt remained in Esch’s mind. So, he called up Georgia State, where Young studies, and paid off the financial hold on her account! “It was something I could do that I thought was worth it and would really help her,” Esch shared with Good Morning America. Afterward, he sent a picture of the paid debt to Young with a text: “Okay, you’re all set. Register for your class.”
“Couldn’t Thank Him Enough”
Obviously, Young felt floored and overwhelmed with emotions. In fact, she saved the text and still reads it once a week! For Young, it was like hitting the jackpot. After she paid her debt off, Young signed up for her last few classes – and promptly graduated! After her debt was paid off, Young was able to restart the courses and classes – and graduate. Her graduation was a fantastic milestone, and in the audience sat her family, friends – and Esch! “That was amazing, to be there and to see the smile on her face and to know that she did it. I know she’s going to go places much further than that now,” the generous passenger said.
The university acknowledged Esch’s selfless, kind act by sending him a thank you letter and releasing a statement, which read, “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.”
Thanks to Esch, Young can now focus on becoming the best version of herself possible. On her Facebook, Young wrote, “I have thanked him so much, but I feel like I haven’t thanked him enough. It was not just the money but his willingness and his sacrifice for me to do better in life. This man knew me for maybe 20 minutes.”