A dying cancer patient who worked at Rotterdam Diergaarde Blijdorp zoo in the Netherlands returned to say goodbye to the animals on Wednesday. He requested that his hospital bed be wheeled into the giraffe habitat, and what happened next was very touching.
One of the giraffes approached the man, known as Mario, and gave him a kiss.
“You could see him totally light up,” said Kees Veldboer, founder and director of Ambulance Wish Foundation, which brought Mario to the zoo. “It’s very special to see that those animals recognize him, and sense that he isn’t doing well,” he told Rotterdam newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.
Mario, who is mentally disabled, then asked for a few moments to say goodbye to his co-workers at the zoo. He spent a lot of his adult life as a maintenance worker there.
Click HERE to see a photo of the giraffe kissing Mario.
The Ambulance Wish Foundation is a charity that specializes in fulling dying wishes of non-mobile terminally ill patients, and the ambulances have long windows so patients could “watch the world go by while they were being transported.” In 2013, they took an 86-year-old terminally ill man back to his farm so that he could spend some moments saying goodbye to his ponies.