An accidental encounter in May 2018 led to a random act of kindness that changed a life forever. As she chatted up her Uber passenger, Kevin Esch, little did Latonya Young know that the trajectory of her life was about to shift dramatically -- and much sooner than she might have imagined. During their brief conversation, Young shared with Esch her dream of going back to school as soon as she paid her electric bill and saved enough money. Esch, who says, "I try to do acts of kindness all the time," encouraged Young to stop thinking about going back to school and just do it. To put some momentum behind his encouragement, he tipped Young $150 to cover the cost of her electric bill. At the end of the ride, they took a selfie and vowed to stay in touch. A couple weeks and texts later, Young was on her way to school. When she reached out to let Esch know that she had tried to register for classes and could not, due to an overdue balance he stepped up again and covered the $693 balance. "I didn't want that to be what stops her," Esch said. "I wanted to take care of it." In December 2019 Young received her associate's degree from Perimeter College at Georgia State University. She credits Esch, now her friend and mentor, with inspiring her to pursue her dream of a college education. Young has continued her studies online during the pandemic and expects to graduate this spring with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. After graduation, she wants to continue her education either in law or nursing to help with the pandemic. As for Esch, his practice of random acts of kindness continues. "I really, truly feel that, if you put good out in the world, you're going to get good back," he said.

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