54-year-old Mario Ejis has spent half of his life taking care of the animals at the Rotterdam’s Diergaarde Blijdorp zoo in the Netherlands. Over the years, the magnificent inhabitants of the place have become his best friends. He always made sure their cages were perfectly clean and they have plenty of food and water.
Sadly, Mario got sick and was diagnosed with cancer, which meant he had to retire and leave the animals behind.
However, when his condition worsened and he was unable to walk or speak clearly, he asked for one final wish; to say one last goodbye to the animals that were very important part of his life.
The charity organization Ambulance Wish Foundation made sure they make his wish a reality. They transported him to the zoo in a specialized vehicle.
Mario was taken to see all the animals, but it wasn’t until he approached the giraffe section that something truly amazing happened.
The giraffes took turns to get their heads out of the window and give him gentle kisses. They could feel the pain their old friend was going through.
“These animals recognized him, and felt that (things aren’t) going well with him,” said Kees Veldboer, the founder of the Ambulance Wish Foundation.
“(It was) a very special moment. You saw him (Mario) beaming,” said Veldboer.
The dying man got to see his co-workers again as well, and being at that place put him at ease.
What Ambulance Wish Foundation did for Mario was amazing. In fact, the organization was founded in order to help terminally ill people see a place of their significance for one last time. It was first established in the Netherlands but now it has around 1500 volunteers in the UK too.
Once the story of Mario and the animals was spread on the social media, many took their time to express their gratitude to the foundation and the animals who showed incredible compassion.
One person wrote:
“Animals are the most beautiful and ethereal beings. They see, feel and touch our souls in unimaginable ways. The depth of their senses is a gift to those who unconditionally love and respect these amazing creatures gifted to us by our magnificent Creator. Rest In Eternal Peace, Mario. You were their Hero.”
We knew that animals are great at showing emotions and empathy towards those of their kind, but this story shows that they are equally compassionate towards humans too.
What these giraffes did for Mario made our hearts melt.