A giraffe kissed a zookeeper, who was dying of brain cancer, one last goodbye as he was in his hospital bed in the giraffe enclosure. The incredible interaction between the giraffe and 54-year-old zoo worker Mario Eijs was caught on video. Mario had worked almost all of his adult life at the Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands cleaning the enclosures of animals, reported the Mirror on March 21, 2014.
Despite his mental disability, Mario had cleaned the zoo's animal cages daily for 25 years and had developed a special bond, especially with the giraffes. When facing his impending death, the zookeeper had one final wish – to be able to say goodbye to his beloved giraffes.
Mario’s goodbye trip to the giraffes and his zoo coworkers was organized by the Dutch charity Ambulance Wish Foundation which has 200 volunteers granting terminally ill patients their last wishes.
As the video shows, it took the giraffes some time (and some food) to figure out that the strange hospital bed on wheels in their enclosure was not any danger, and as they became more and more curious, the animals also realized that the very man lying in his deathbed was the man they had known for years.
When the giraffe kissed zookeeper Mario Eijs goodbye, “it was a very special moment. You saw him beaming,” said the charity’s founder Kees Veldboer. “These animals recognized him, and felt that things weren’t going well with him.”