Billy Baker, a reporter for the Boston Globe, first met George Huynh, the son of Vietnamese immigrants, while working on a series about Boston’s #19 bus. He was chronicling the different characters who ride this route, which winds through several of the city’s down-and-out neighborhoods.
George himself boarded the #19 in Dorchester to travel to the Boston Latin School, an elite and rigorous public institution for the city’s smartest students. Each day, he left his troubles at home—his dad had just committed suicide, his mom was struggling with mental health issues and couldn’t speak English—to put his head down and work hard. He didn’t have control over much in his life, Baker would go on to explain, but he saw his own education as a way out of this less-than-fortunate situation. And George would take whatever breaks he could get.
Yesterday, Baker took to Twitter to tell the story of how his relationship with George and his brother had grown since the article about them ran two years ago, and to share a heartwarming update that’s so full of hope and promise and power you can (and probably will) cry: George had just been accepted to Yale.
We haven’t exactly done George’s struggles justice here, but that’s because we want you to read about them yourself. Buzzfeed has compiled Baker’s Tweets, and the original Globe article is available here. You should check out their video, too.
As you’ll see, it’s easy to turn George into a symbol for “success against all odds,” but his journey is actually much richer and deeper than that. You’ll be wowed by—and feel some pretty intense gratitude for—the two men (Baker included) who stepped in and gave this kid and his brother even more of a fighting chance in life. It’s got our minds racing about the value mentorship this morning, that’s for sure…