Giraffe Shares Touching Goodbye With Dying Zoo Worker
A dying cancer patient who worked at a Dutch zoo returned to say
goodbye on Wednesday. Lying in a hospital bed placed in the giraffe
habitat at Rotterdam's Diergaarde Blijdorp, the 54-year-old man,
identified as only Mario, waited for the animals to approach.
In an image now breaking the Internet's heart
, one giraffe appears to understand the moment, kissing Mario.
"You could see him totally light up," said Kees Veldboer, founder and director of Ambulance Wish Foundation
, which arranged the farewell. "It's very special
to see that those animals recognize him, and sense that he isn't doing well," he told Rotterdam newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.
Mario, who has a mental disability, spent nearly his entire life as a maintenance man at the zoo, according to the paper.
After the touching encounter, he then bid farewell to his colleagues
, the charity reported.