Hᴇᴀʀᴛʙʀᴇᴀᴋɪɴɢ pictures have emerged of the moment a giraffe said goodbye to a ᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴀʟʟʏ ɪʟʟ zoo worker, who had spent most of his adult life cleaning the animal’s enclosures.
Mario Ejis has worked at Rotterdam’s Diergaarde Blijdorp zoo in the Netherlands for 25 years. Throughout his time there, he has made several great memories and really connected with most of the animals. Mario worked as maintenance staff in charge of caring for the creatures in the zoo.
A few years into his time there, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was not able to go to work, but in 2014, he made one last request and expressed his desire to visit the zoo. On his final visit, one giraffe surprised Mario with a farewell kiss.
Even though he was confined to a bed, and he had speech difficulties, his former co-workers were happy to help him make his last wish come true. With the help of the charity Ambulance Wish Foundation, his friends at the zoo transported him in a specially designed ambulance.
As Mr. Mario approached the giraffes, they went closer to him and started giving him snuffles. One of them even kissed the zookeeper goodbye in a Hᴇᴀʀᴛʙʀᴇᴀᴋɪɴɢ moment.
”Mario got a lick on his nose after a lot of snuffles,” Foundation worker Olaf Exoo said in a written summary of the day. Exoo said it was ”a last greeting to each other that gave everybody watching goose bumps.”
When shared on Facebook in 2014, Mario’s story went viral on social media. It was picked up by several media companies and shared on popular websites and Twitter. It left a lot of people ʜᴇᴀʀᴛʙʀᴏᴋᴇɴ and awed at the giraffes’ ability to sense Mario’s ᴘᴀɪɴ.
The giraffes may not have been able to detect cancer in their long-term friend’s body, but they could certainly sense his ᴘᴀɪɴ and sᴜꜰꜰᴇʀɪɴɢ. Like the pets and many other animals that we care for, they’re truly true friends of us.
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