Depth of Gratitude and Robin Williams’ Heartwarming Bond With Ticklish Fan

Recently I came across a couple of amazing news stories. Both are aquatic. One video captures a bottlenose dolphin who swims to divers for help. A fishing hook is lodged in her fin. The other is the story of the rescue of a dying humpback whale so tangled in a fishing net that he couldn’t surface for air, and the whale’s stunning and beautiful demonstrations of joy and gratitude after he was freed.

Following those two stories are two old favorites of mine. One was a news story back on August 16, 1996, that wowed the world and I have never forgotten it — a child cuddled and rescued by a very unlikely hero. The second video, the bonding of the late iconic Robin Williams and his biggest fan, is so heartwarming it brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it.

CBS Chicago did a 15-year update on the rescue of the child at the Brookfield Zoo back in 2011. Though it doesn’t name the boy (now age 22) or anything about him all these years later, they reviewed the story for those who had never heard about it.

The article reported that when the three-year-old fell into the pit, an eight-year-old female gorilla “gently picked up the unconscious boy and cradled him in her arms”. The young gorilla mother, Binti Jua, was carrying her own baby on her back at the time.

“She was gently kind of rocking the kid in her right arm . . . She was somewhat protective, too. Part of the video, she takes the child and sort of turns a shoulder to the other gorillas,” zoo worker Jay Peterson said. Wikipedia reports that when “another, larger female gorilla approached, Binti growled.”

” ‘She carried him up around this part of the exhibit, through the river, made a right turn … went over to that log,” zoo worker Craig Demitros said.  Binti Jua then handed the child over to zoo keepers at the door to the exhibit. Workers who were there said it’s an image they will never forget.

“They said it was fortunate that the child was unconscious because had he been moving or crying he might have been perceived as a threat. But that didn’t happen and “the child was taken to Loyola University Medical Center where he made a full recovery.”

“The video was shown around the world and Binti Jua was acclaimed a hero.”

Through further research, I have since learned that “Binti Jua (whose name means “Daughter of Sunshine” in Swahili) is the niece of Koko, the gorilla world famous for her alleged linguistic accomplishments.” (Wikipedia)


Koko is the subject of the next video in which the late Robin Williams is introduced to the sign-language adept gorilla and gets play time with her. The look on Robin Williams’ face is priceless and heartwarming. It’s one of my favorite videos, but I did not know until now that the two world-famous gorillas, Koko and Binti Jua, were of the same family.

Hope you enjoyed these as much as I have.



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