In the years that followed, Jambo was honored with memorials commemorating his actions depicted in that grainy footage - leaving behind a legacy that has long surpassed his death in 1992. But there's still one person for whom the animal's kind gesture will always be more than a concept.
The Mail Online recently caught up with Levan Merritt, now a father himself, whose life in some ways could be owed to the gentle heart of a gorilla. That, he says, is something he'll never forget.
"I am forever thankful to Jambo as obviously it could have gone one or two ways," Merritt said. "It was amazing how he protected me in that way."