Former Uber driver earns bachelor’s degree after a passenger paid off her debt

A single mother who used to drive for Uber has a bachelor’s degree now thanks to a passenger from three years ago.

It’s a big milestone for Latonya Young, who dropped out of high school when she was 16 to raise her first child, then later dropped out of college.

In 2018, Young was an Uber driver, a hair stylist and a mother of three. She told one of her passengers in Atlanta her story and how she couldn’t re-enroll at Georgia State University because of a $700 balance she owed.

It seemed like a typical ride, but she later learned it was life-changing.

That’s because her passenger, Kevin Esch, ended up paying her outstanding balance at Georgia State, and the school told her she could register for classes again.

“Literally I was blown away,” Young told CNN affiliate WSB. “A stranger has never done that — or done anything like that — for me.”

Esch said Young resonated with him, moving him to help her out.

“I was in a pretty low place in my life and I was going through a divorce and she lifted me up by the time I got back home,” he told CNN Full Circle. “I thought the least I could do is at least give her something to help her.”

Young earned her associate’s degree in December of 2019. Earlier this month, she received a bachelor of science in criminal justice, according to WSB. She’d like to become a federal probation officer.

“It’s the best feeling in the world. It’s a feeling I really can’t explain. I never thought I’d be where I am today,” Young told WSB. “I pray to God that I get a good job opportunity that pays well so I can pay my loans and take care of my child.”

Esch told the affiliate he’s proud of Young.

“She’s done an amazing job to make it this far. Through the pandemic, through virtual schooling, through everything. It’s amazing,” he said.