I Met SFO's Giant Rabbit Alex the Great, and Everything is Better Now

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A very large, light brown rabbit sits calmly inside a pet stroller.
Alex the Great sits upon his cushiony throne in the North Food Court of SFO's International Terminal, March 23, 2022.  (Rae Alexandra)

Alex the Great is not like other rabbits. I'm not just saying this because, weighing in at 28 lbs, he's big enough to beat me up. And I'm not just saying it because he's the newest member of SFO's Wag Brigade, the team of animals employed to soothe the nerves of airport passengers and staff.

No. I'm saying it because I'm fairly certain that Alex the Great is the Rihanna of rabbits—he's out here living his best life, and making other people feel better in the process.

Don't believe me? Alex the Great rides around in a customized convertible with his name on the back. He hangs out at nice restaurants. He goes for jogs in the park at dusk. He wears dope clothes. He lives in downtown San Francisco. And he spends time bro-ing down at basketball and baseball games. (Alex the Great is the official "Rally Rabbit" of the Giants.) Make no mistake—if MTV's Pimp My Ride still existed, Alex the Great would have his own episode.

Unsurprisingly, Alex the Great is incredibly self-assured. Nothing—and I do mean nothing—fazes him. Which is how he so swiftly earned the Animal Assisted Therapy certificate that qualifies him to work at SFO. (He's only 15 months old!) Alex the Great's most endearing quality is that, if he takes a shine to you, he will happily hop into your lap for some quality snuggles. He did this to me last week during his most recent visit to the airport and, let me tell you, it felt better than any compliment I have ever received from a human adult.

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It was 11am on a Wednesday when Alex the Great—a Flemish Giant—most recently rolled into SFO's international terminal. He arrived in his stroller, pushed by Josh Row, Alex's human roommate since Dec. 2020 and the person that brings Alex to all of his engagements. Alex remained effortlessly cool despite the immediate crowd that gathered around him to take turns petting him and posing for selfies. He took the time to greet each of them in turn. "I wouldn't be here without my fans," he told one (in my head). "The fans are what makes it all worthwhile."

A grid of four squares showing: a woman on her knees hugging a giant rabbit, a little girl gesturing for attention behind a large rabbit, a woman in a mask petting a giant rabbit, and a woman petting a large rabbit as it lies inside a pet stroller.
Humans at SFO (quite rightly) losing their damn minds over Alex the Great. (Rae Alexandra)

"This is my first time meeting Alex," Sheryl Nashir, SFO's Director of Revenue and Development told me. "I feel immediately happier, and calmer, and delighted. His neck is like a built-in pillow."

Then it was my turn. Alex let me pet him for several minutes before half-hopping onto my lap and grinding his teeth together, which Row told me he does when he is happy. A wave of calm washed over me. And then it happened—Alex the Great began enthusiastically licking my wrist. Sweet validation!

A woman with bright red hair, dressed in black and pink, sits on the shiny floor of an airport next to a giant rabbit wearing a vest that says "Wag Brigade" and "Pet Me" on it.
The author with Alex the Great, casually hanging out on the floor of SFO. (Rae Alexandra)

I wasn't the only person whose day got better because of Alex the Great. Taliaferro Jones was traveling to Toronto with her two daughters that day. The trio had come to be with family in San Francisco at the very start of the pandemic, and they haven't been able to return home to Canada ever since.

"Today is going to be a stressful one. They haven't seen home in two years," Jones said about her girls, 12-year-old Mirabel and 8-year-old Mya. Seeing Mirabel's immediate rapport with Alex, Jones breathed a literal sigh of relief. "This is a great diversion," she said. "It's kind of a gift. Mirabel loves animals. I feel like maybe [Alex] is good luck for us."

A young girl of about 10, wearing a blue plaid dress and matching cardigan, kneels on the floor and pets a giant rabbit on her lap. She sweeps her blond hair back off her face with her left hand.
Mirabel, a young Canadian girl who's been stuck in California since COVID hit, gets a cuddle from Alex before finally heading back home. (Rae Alexandra)

Alex the Great hung out with the public for over an hour before casually flopping down into his stroller and nodding off to sleep. Before escorting Alex home, Row—a mechanical engineer and rabbit rescue volunteer—told me that Alex has a number of important appointments coming up. These include meeting the mayors of both Burlingame and San Francisco. ("He's met London Breed a couple of times now," Row noted.)

"He has a personality unlike any other animal we've ever seen," said Row. "He wants to be social. He wants to go out. And he's just so smart."

To keep apprised of Alex the Great's future appearances and ongoing adventures, follow him on Instagram at @alex.thegreat100.