Giraffe licks dying zoo worker

A giraffe gave a lick to a dying man who asked as a last wish to be taken to Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he had done odd jobs for 25 years.
This photo released Saturday by Stichting Ambulance Wens, or Ambulance Wish Foundation, shows a giraffe at Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam giving a lick to terminally ill Mario Eijs on Wednesday. (Stichting Ambulance Wens/Associated Press)

A giraffe gave a lick to a dying man who asked as a last wish to be taken to Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he had done odd jobs for 25 years.

Mario Eijs, who is mentally disabled, had developed a brain tumour and had difficulty walking or speaking. He wanted to pay a final visit to the co-workers and animals he loved.

The Stichting Ambulance Wens offers free transport to terminally ill patients.

Several giraffes became curious when Eijs was brought to their inside enclosure on March 19.

"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."