Date: October 26, 2021
By Lisa Garrett
PENDLETON, SC -- No matter where Tesshea Adams goes, she is recognized and greeted with a familiar ‘Hey, Uber Queen.’
She can be shopping with her kids, eating in a restaurant, stopped at a red light, and/or walking to class on the campus of Tri-County Technical College where she is a media arts production honor student – and folks will acknowledge her as their go-to for ride shares.
“Sometimes my hair is blonde and pink, sometimes it’s purple. It doesn’t matter. After four years as an Uber driver, people recognize me, even during COVID times when I’m wearing a face mask. The other day I was pumping gas and someone driving by yelled Uber Queen.”
Driving for Uber has been a full-time job for the single parent of three while she has been attending classes at Tri-County. “I enjoy it. It doesn’t feel like work. I love the connection with the people I meet.”
It wasn’t easy, juggling her kids’ home schooling during the pandemic, as well as altering her lifestyle to fit Tri-County’s remote learning. She even contracted COVID-19 herself in June of 2020 and it upended her plans to take three classes that would put her closer to graduation.
Adams is an Anderson native but grew up in Pennsylvania. After graduating from high school she attended ITT in Pennsylvania and began working at local call centers. “It was great money but not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” she said. She married and started her family and eventually moved to Pendleton to be with family.
She began call center work, which included social media, but after divorcing, she began driving for Uber for extra money. “My name (Tesshea) is hard to pronounce. I named all of my social media accounts Uber Queen and called myself the Uber Queen. My kids call me queen and I was working for Uber so it made sense,” she said.
It also caught on quickly. She keeps a guest book in her car and she began to post their comments on her social media platforms. She has more than 3,000 followers -- 2800 on Instagram and 600 on Facebook.
Adams always wanted to pursue another degree but says she was scared. At the challenge of a friend, she enrolled at Tri-County. “I needed upskilling in math and English and enrolled in comprehensive studies classes.” She wanted to work in radio one day and visited the media arts production lab. “It was the coolest room. I fit in immediately,” said Adams. Her first semester she was the DJ/manager of the campus radio station, MAP the Hill. “My goal is to be a radio personality,” she said.
She’s on her way – she secured an internship that has progressed into working at Summit Media in Greenville in promotions for 98.1, 107.3 and x98.5 and now works in the promotions department. She is the social media manager for the Palmetto Colts Arena Football League, while also maintaining her own social media presence for Uber Queen.
“She has an obvious love for people and the community in which she lives. From family, to school, to work and her online presence, she gives it her all. Developmental courses were merely a stepping stone for her. She has continued to have a great work ethic and is on her way to accomplishing her dreams,” said Lynell Hecht, a member of the Comprehensive Studies learning support staff in the Academic and Career Foundations department. Hecht nominated her for the South Carolina Organization for Student Success (SCOSS) Scholar Award. Adams won and received a $500 scholarship late last year.
She was the recipient of the outstanding student award for media arts production in 2020 and received a Hayden Abney Fulp scholarship through the College’s Foundation. She maintains a 3.67 GPA and a spot on the dean’s list.
She says enrolling at Tri-County was the best decision she has made for herself. “My MAP instructors are like family,” she said.
“When you do what you love, you don’t realize how much you are doing – until someone recognizes it. I have an example to set for my kids, ages 13, 11 and 8. We are doing it together. I went in saying that we have to make this work and we have. It’s been phenomenal. The hard work and perseverance have paid off.”
About Tri-County Technical College
Tri-County Technical College, a public two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina, enrolls more than 9,000 students annually and offers more than 70 major fields of study, including computer technology, industrial electronics, mechatronics, nursing, and university transfer programs. Tri-County boasts the highest student success rate among two-year colleges in the state and ranks in the top one percent nationally for successful student transfers to four-year colleges and universities. To learn more, visit tctc.edu.