Uber driver graduates college after passenger pays off her student debt

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ATLANTA — Latonya Young says it was a car ride she’ll never forget.

“I got a call to go to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It was an Atlanta United game,” Young said.

The 43-year old single mom was a hairstylist by day, Uber driver by night.

During this particular trip, Young shared a bit of her life story with the passenger.

At the age of 16, she had to drop out of high school to raise her first child.

She recently had to drop out of college because of a $700 unpaid balance to Georgia State University.

“Every time I got ready to pay the money, my kids needed something," she said. "I said, ‘Okay. I’ll just wait.'”

A few days after that rideshare, Young got a phone call from the school.

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

That stranger was Kevin Esch, the passenger in the Uber.

A couple of weeks ago, he attended Young’s graduation from Georgia State University.

“When he paid the balance, I had to do this for him. I maintained my grades. A’s and B’s. Just trying to do everything to make sure he knows I appreciate him,” Young said.

Young earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice.

Soon, she’ll be back in class to pursue a bachelor’s degree, dreams coming true, because of a car ride.

“And this one changed my life, that one ride,” she said.

The Uber passenger wasn’t available for an interview but says Young is an inspiration to him.

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