Latonya Young knows what it’s like to struggle. She had to drop out of high school when she was 16 to care for her first child. Recently, she was forced to put her college studies on hold because of a $700 unpaid balance to Georgia State University.
“Every time I got ready to pay the money, my kids needed something,” Young told WSB. “I said, ‘OK, I’ll just wait.'”
To make ends meet, Young works as a hairstylist during the day and drives an Uber at night. When she picked up a passenger outside of Atlanta’s Mercedez-Benz Stadium last year, the two ended up talking about her situation, and how she planned to go back to school as soon as she could pay off her debt.
A few days later, Young heard from the university that she could register for classes. Turns out, the passenger, Kevin Esch, had taken it upon himself to pay the balance she owed. After hearing the good news, Young registered for classes and completed the credits she needed to earn an associate degree in Criminal Justice.
“Literally I was blown away. A stranger has never done that — or done anything like that — for me.” – Latonya Young
The fact that Esch made it possible for her to go back to school made it that much more important for Young to reach her goal.
“I maintained my grades, As and Bs, just trying to make sure he knows I appreciate him,” she said.
As for Esch, he said that Young inspired him during their conversation, and it was the least he could do to help her out.
“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,” he told CNN Full Circle. “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.”
A few weeks ago, Young invited Esch to attend her graduation ceremony at Georgia State. She shared photos of her posing with Esch while wearing her graduation cap with the following caption:
“You never know who God will send to change your life All thanks to the man upstairs…I had my son at a young age.. dropped out of high school.. … but It’s not how you start in life… it’s how you finish!!❤️”
Young is returning to Georgia State this semester to earn her bachelor’s degree, but she’s not stopping there. She says she wants to be a lawyer one day – all because of a genuine conversation shared between strangers during an Uber ride.
Sometimes, that’s all it takes to #StartSomethingGood.
(Source: images Latonya Young Facebook)