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Tall wish fulfilled as giraffes say goodbye to hospitalized keeper

Mario gets kiss from friend.
Mario gets kiss from friend.
Ambulance Wish Foundation via

When a 54-year-old zoo worker from the Netherlands, identified only as Mario learned he had terminal cancer, he knew that he did not want to die before he could say farewell to his beloved giraffes. As a result, he expressed his desire to the Ambulance Wish Foundation, which was able to arrange for the animals to visit him as he lay in his hospital bed.

The Ambulance Wish Foundation (a sort of "Make a Wish" for adults in the Netherlands) specializes in transporting patients who are terminally ill to destinations they love or desire to visit, using a special fleet of ambulances “outfitted with extra large windows so that bed-bound passengers can take in the view while out on adventures,” according to a report in the Daily Mail.

“Their reunion is incredibly touching,” noted organization founder Kees Veldboer, who stated that the giraffes appeared to recognize Mario, even leaning into the window of his hospital room to lick his face, as evidenced in a (now) viral video of the reunion.

Mario, who is also mentally disabled had worked at Rotterdam’s Diergaarde Blijdorp Zoo for 25