Final Wish: A Kiss From a Giraffe

Zoo employee says goodbye

A giraffe, kissing his terminally ill caretaker goodbye. (Courtesy of Stichting Ambulance Wens)

This story is NSFW, but for a different reason than usual: You will burst into tears in front of your coworkers and have to go home for the day. Are you ready? Are you alone?

Mario, a 54-year-old maintenance worker at Rotterdam’s Diergaarde Blijdorp Zoo in Holland, is suffering from terminal cancer. His last wish was to say goodbye to the animals. With the help of a charity organization called the Ambulance Wish Foundation, Mario was wheeled into the giraffe’s habitat—the place he cleaned every day for his entire career—and one of the animals, almost knowingly, gave him a kiss.

“These animals recognized him, and felt that things weren’t going well with him,” says Kees Veldboer, the charity's founder. “It was a very special moment. You saw him beaming.”

What? Crying? I’m not crying! It’s allergies!

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