For 25 years of his life, 54-year-old Mario Ejis worked at Diergaarde Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, as a maintenance worker, caring for some of the most amazing creatures in captivity. Mario, who is also mentally handicapped, battled terminal cancer and was unable to go to work for a while. In 2014, after spending almost half of his life cleaning animal cages and befriending wild animals, he had one last wish: he wanted to see the zoo again.
Mario’s condition was far advanced and he was permanently bedridden, the Independent reported. He had great difficulty speaking and forming coherent sentences. But the nostalgia on his face was enough to convince him A charity called the Desire for Ambulance Foundation came to his aid. He was taken to hospital in a specially designed ambulance so he could be reunited with his friends.
The giraffes felt his pain
When Mario was taken to the giraffe department, something incredible happened.
It was heartbreaking to see the giraffes approaching the ambulance that was carrying Mario, one by one with their heads sticking out the window. They could feel that he was in great pain and unhappiness. They gagged him, kissed him, and comforted him with a sad expression in their eyes.
“These animals recognized him and felt that (things were not right) with him,” said Kees Veldboer, the founder of the Desire for Ambulance Foundation.
This experience had a great influence on Mario (“It was a very special moment. You saw him shine,” Veldboer said.
He had the opportunity to see the zoo, which was his home, for the last time. He also had the opportunity to say goodbye to his work colleagues.
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