We had a really interesting weekend which started out at an air show on a rainy Saturday morning right here in our city. After an hour of walking around a hangar and looking at small aircraft while we waited for the rain to stop, we gave up and left. It was 55 degrees, raining, and uncomfortable. The scheduled pilots were grounded. The sky remained dark, except for bursts of lightning. Of course an hour later, as we sat in a coffee shop drinking coffee and reading books, the sun came out.

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Later in the day, we talked about going back to the air show on Sunday, but decided instead to drive to Kansas City and visit the zoo. We were awakened at 4:40 in the morning by thunder and lightning. It didn’t look promising. The storm passed in a few hours, though, and we made the two-hour drive. We arrived at 9:20.

It was our first trip to the Kansas City Zoo. The air was chilly to start out, but not too bad. We watched a sea lion show and I took dozens of photos of that. Then we went into an aviary of Lorikeets—they are small, bright-colored birds and they were everywhere. We were able to get up close, and I did. I started clicking photos of a few birds. It’s very strange that as I was squatting and taking pictures, a group of Lorikeets became interested and ran toward me on their spindly legs. One of them took flight and landed on my left hand. I was so surprised that I almost fell backwards. The bird stayed there and started touching my hand with its beak. I wanted to get a picture, so my daughter took the camera and started clicking. This strange bird noticed, and flew from my hand onto the camera and surprised my daughter. Everyone laughed and the bird flew off.

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After that we visited the Asian and Australian sections of the zoo where saw kangaroos, tigers, monkeys, etc. We ate lunch and then rode on a tram to the African section where we saw chimps, zebras, rhinos, elephants, lions, etc. Again, I took lots of photos.

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After four-and-a-half hours of walking, we wanted to ride the tram back to the entrance so we could go home. By then it was hot and humid, our feet and legs ached, and we were tired. It was a happy tired. The waiting line for the tram was too long. We decided to walk. We checked the zoo’s map and saw a short-cut trail, but we couldn’t find it. My husband noticed a zoo employee driving a cart, and he asked him for directions.

The man said there wasn’t really a short-cut. The map wasn’t accurate. He asked my husband if he was all right. He’d noticed him limping. My husband said he was okay, just tired, and he’d had knee surgery a few months ago. This wonderful stranger said, “I don’t usually do this, but I’ll give you folks a ride back to the front entrance. Hop onto the cart.”

We were surprised and happy. Not only did he give us a ride, but he took us through the employee part of the zoo to the front, through the parking lot, and dropped us off at our car. He introduced himself, shook our hands, and made us feel really special. What a wonderful day we had. What a wonderful man he was.

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