Uber Driver Earns College Degree After Passenger Pays Off Her Debt

January 3, 2020

An Uber driver is one step closer to achieving her dream of becoming a lawyer thanks to a passenger who paid off her college debt.

man pays uber driver debt
Latonya Young with Kevin Esch

Latonya Young said she picked up Kevin Esch outside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and during the ride they got to talking.

Young, a hair stylist by day and an Uber driver by night, told Esch that when she was 16 she had to drop out of high school to raise her first child. And more recently, she had to drop out of college because of a $700 balance that she couldn't afford to pay off.

"Every time I got ready to pay the money, my kids needed something. I said, 'OK, I'll just wait'," Young told WSB-TV.

A few days later, Young received a phone call from the school.

 

"And the message stated, 'You can register for classes now.' I was literally blown away. A stranger has never done that, or done anything like that, for me," Young said.

With the balance paid by Esch, Young earned her associate's degree in criminal justice.

The two kept in touch, and Esch attended her graduation in December.

"That was amazing, to be there and to see the smile on her face and to know that she did it," Esch told GMA. "I know she’s going to go places much further than that now."

Esch told CNN that Young is an inspiration and that he's blessed to have had the opportunity to help her.

"There was something about Latonya that just -- she resonates with me and we developed an incredible friendship now and I am incredibly proud of what she's done. I could've bought new clothes or I could've helped someone out. And what has come back to me has come back a hundredfold and I would do it 1,000 times over."

Young plans to return to Georgia State this month to work toward her bachelor's degree. Her ultimate goal is to go to law school and become a defense attorney.

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