Uber Driver Graduates College After Passenger Pays Off Her School Debt

Uber Driver Graduates College After Passenger Pays Off Her School Debt

Latonya Young, center, shows off her degree alongside Georgia Perimeter College Dean Nancy P. Kropf, left, and Kevin Esch, the Uber passenger who paved the way for her to finish. (Photo by Bill Roa)
Image via Georgia State University

This week, a Georgia woman’s story went viral earlier this year after she revealed that a stranger offered her a tremendous gift—paying off her entire school debt.

Latonya Young, 43, is a student at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College who also works as an Uber driver to earn income to pay for her college education and living expenses. Her goal is to obtain her associate’s degree in criminal justice and support her children. During one of her rides, she picked up a man in front of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium where they shared a deep conversation about their lives and she shared that she had fallen behind in her tuition payments.

After ending the ride with a generous $150 tip, Young thought that would be the end of their chance meeting when the following Monday morning, she received a receipt stating that her balance had been fully paid. “Every time I got ready to pay the money, my kids needed something. I said, ‘OK I’ll just wait,” Young said to WSLS 10 News.

After a few days, Young said she got a call from the school to deliver the astounding news. “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—or me.”

“It just made me feel good to do it,” said the generous passenger, Kevin Esch, in an interview with the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “I didn’t expect anything from it.”

Esch later attended her graduation and the two have stayed in touch. Since sharing her story, Young has gotten requests for interviews from the press and captured the attention of interested readers from around the world.

“I’ve been getting calls from reporters all over the world,” Young said according to a university news release. “I mean they’ve reached out from India, Europe, and Africa and,” she added with a laugh, “they don’t care when they call.”