An Uber ride a year ago is what put the wheels into motion.
Driver Latonya Young picked up passenger, Kevin Esch, outside of Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, following an Atlanta United match. They bonded. He shared with her how he was going through a divorce and in the process of moving. She told him about her dreams of going back to college once she pays off nearly $700 in outstanding bills to Georgia State University, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“He was telling me you’re never too old to get an education,” Young told the newspaper.
When Esch got out, he gave the 43-year-old single mom of three a $150 tip and they both wished each other well. The next time she would hear from him would be via text, to let her know he had paid off her outstanding $693 balance and that she could now re-enroll at GSU.
“It just made me feel good to do it,” Esch told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I didn’t expect anything from it.”
Young said Esch’s good deed, along with his belief that she could do this, was the last push that she needed to re-enroll at the university.
“Nobody’s ever done anything so nice to me in my life,” Young told the newspaper.
Young said she stayed in touch with Esch over the past year, giving him updates on her classes and grades. Now that single act of kindness will see Young fulfill a lifelong dream: a college degree. The onetime high school dropout, who later earned her GED and went on to become a hairstylist, receives an associate’s degree in criminal justice this week.
She donned her black cap and gown recently and included Esch in her college photoshoot.
Although Young said she would have eventually re-enrolled in college, she credits that one conversation and follow-up act of kindness for prompting her to do it right away. Now, Young is slated to start her bachelor’s degree in January, also at Georgia State University. She will be entering the school’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.
After this, law school.