A Friendship That Started With A Ride Request


You may remember this story as it began well over a year ago where an Uber driver, facing financial difficulties with a burning desire to continue her college education and a kind man who ordered a ride home.


It’s the story of Latonya Young of Atlanta, Georgia, a single Mom of three boys who recently earned her associate degree from Georgia State University’s Perimeter College in December thanks to the passenger with a giving heart, Kevin Esch. Young and Esch appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where the host surprised the pair with gifts. Young received a $25,000 check and a trip to an NFL game, and her sweet-hearted passenger, Kevin Esch, was awarded for his generosity with a trip to a destination of his choice.


Young’s memorable encounter with Esch has been covered in numerous of national and international publications and newcasts, including CNN and ABC’s “Good Morning America.”


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


Any time is a good time for Young, who at 43 years young wants her experience with the stranger-turned-life changer to change the minds and lives as many people as possible.


Kevin Esch, an estate manager in Atlanta area. He requested an uber back in 2018 after attending an Atlanta United soccer game.


While transporting Esch to his destination, they two chatted over a few topics, including the reason Young stopped pursuing her education at Perimeter College after getting receiving her GED. Young stated there was a hold on her college account because of an unpaid student bill, according to Yahoo!.


According to the same site, Young also explained whenever she saved enough money to pay the bill and re-enroll in college, she’d have to redirect her funds to family needs or medical bills from surgeries she’s had.


Both Young and Esch said their goodbyes at the end of his Uber ride, Esch sending Young well wishes and asking for her business card. The week following his Uber ride, Esch went down to Georgia State and took care the almost $700 Young owed the college — wiping her debt and offering a fresh start to get re-enroll.


Young, who now refers to Esch as her “Power Ranger,” calls his gestures the nicest thing anyone has ever done for her.


“[He] gave me the drive to go do it,” Young said of returning to school.


Young and Esch have created a special bond. While in school, Young kept Esch consistently updated on her progress.


“I didn’t want to disappoint him,” Young said.


Thanks to Esch, Young has become a family first to graduate from college. She wishes to pay Esch back, but his only wish was that she study and graduate. And that she did!


She received an associate degree in criminal justice from Perimeter College and is now enrolled in Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies where she’s studying to receive her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Young has dreams of becoming an attorney.


As a teen mother and high school dropout, Young feels she has knocked down the walls of stigmas and excuses.


“I was so disappointed in myself with that, and I just felt that I was missing something as far as my education,” she said. “I had this something in my life that I wanted to finish.”


For now, Young wants to shift her focus from the media to her school work.


“It’s been amazing,” she said. “But I have to focus on school.”

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