Kees the Man
Kees Veldboer is a pretty cool dude. The Dutchman is the founder of the Stichting Ambulance Wens (say that ten times fast!), or “Ambulance Wish Foundation,” which is like our Make-A-Wish Foundation. It all began in 2006, when he was transporting a former sailor to a hospital that wasn’t ready for the patient. With time to kill, Veldboer asked the patient sailor where he would want to go, and they spent an hour on the beach, stretcher and all. Learning that the man was a sailor, Veldboer asked him if he’d like to sail again. “I wish,” the guy said, “but it’s impossible.” Undeterred by trifling inconveniences such as a terminally ill patient on a stretcher, Veldboer got permission to use the ambulance on his day off. Then he contacted a local ferry and explained his plan. Just like that, the guy went sailing one last time. The Foundation has since fulfilled 7,000 wishes, from the parents of a terminally ill 10 month year old baby who just wanted to bring their baby home once to a 101 year old woman who wanted to ride a horse. Some were a little weird, like the person wanted to be licked by a giraffe. One of the more strenuous ones was driving a patient 2,800 miles back to her native country, Romania. Though she had lived in the Netherlands for 12 years, she wanted to die back home. “My hobby is helping others,” Veldboer says. I think I found a new hobby.