Single mother now college graduate thanks to the help of Uber passenger

ATLANTA — A single mom and former Uber driver says her goal to earn a college degree came true Thursday because of one of her passengers.

Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen first told us about Latonya Young a little over a year ago.

She told us then that as she drove the rideshare, she and her passengers would sometimes get to talking. One of those trips turned out to be a life-changer.

Three years ago, she was an Uber driver. Young had dropped out of college and wasn’t allowed to re-enroll because of a $700 unpaid debt to the school.

One night, Esch needed a ride. During the trip, Latonya shared her story. Without telling her, Esch paid that debt and back to class she went.

She is now a college graduate with a bachelor of science in criminal justice from Georgia State University.

“I’m proud of her. She’s done an amazing job to make it this far. Through the pandemic, through virtual schooling, through everything. It’s amazing,” Esch said.

“He was a big part of my journey. I don’t think I’d be here if I wouldn’t have met him. I wouldn’t have had this happen,” Young said.

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Young says her new cap and gown is currently her favorite outfit.

“It’s the best feeling in the world. It’s a feeling I really can’t explain. I never thought I’d be where I am today,” Young said.

Young graduated with a 3.5 GPA. She wrote a book, “From Broken to Blessed,” and says she’d like to become a federal probation officer.

“I pray to God that I get a good job opportunity that pays well so I can pay my loans and take care of my child. Whoever has a good paying job for me, that’s the goal,” Young said.

Her book comes out in just under two weeks.