Ill Zookeeper Receives Farewell Fit For A King From The Animals He Cared For

Jun 09, 2021 by apost team

Mario Ejis worked at Rotterdam's Diergaarde Blijdorp zoo in the Netherlands for more than 20 years. Throughout his time there, he accumulated 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. 

Mario was already diagnosed with a mental disability before the development of cancer. He was unable to speak in coherent sentences and could not properly convey how he felt; however, the look on his face was all the doctors needed to realize how he truly felt.

Because of his terminal condition, Mario was confined to his hospital bed. The Ambulance Wish Foundation came to his rescue and transported him to the zoo where he could meet his long-lost friends.

When they arrived at the giraffes, a miracle occurred. The giraffes sensed that something was off and they treated Mario with the utmost caution. They gently touched him with their eyes full of sadness. It was as if they knew exactly what their previous caretaker was going through.

Since Mario’s video went viral, the Ambulance Wish Foundation has grown and has fulfilled more than 6,000 wishes since its inception in 2007. In 2015, for example, the charity brought a terminally ill woman to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum in her hospital bed to experience Rembrandt’s paintings one last time.

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video.

According to Fox 25, Kees Veldboer, the founder of the organization, commented on the giraffes' reactions, telling Dutch media in 2014:

"These animals recognized him, and felt that (things aren't) going well with him. (It was) a very special moment. You saw him beaming."

Mario was very glad to see the zoo one last time. Throughout his visit, his face lit up with joy. He had finally gotten to see his beloved animals and say goodbye to his fellow co-workers.

The Ambulance Wish Foundation is a charity organization that grants terminally ill patients their last wish. Whether it be to visit Disney World or visit another state, this foundation makes every effort to fulfill these wishes. It was originally founded in the Netherlands but has since expanded to several countries, including Australia, Belgium, England, Sweden, Japan, Italy and more.

"The Ambulance Wish Foundation shows that people who are terminally ill and bed-ridden can have joy, even if they are sometimes so ill that they pass away on the same day or as in many cases a few days later," the organization’s director told NBC News.

Mario's last visit to the zoo went viral on social media in 2014. The foundation had uploaded it on their Facebook page. His story was quickly taken by other news companies and shared on websites as it rapidly gained popularity. The story warmed the hearts of many. Almost all viewers commented on how the giraffes were able to sense Mario's pain.
“It must be so comforting looking at these animals one last time,” one viewer wrote. “Talk about going peacefully. May this man rest in peace.”

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