Kids often form incredible bonds with the animals in their lives. If a kid grows up with a pet, that pet will typically protect the child, and they’ll become best friends with the little one. Usually, kids form these bonds with domesticated animals, like cats and dogs.

But a boy named Joel has a very unusual best friend: a giant stingray!

Joel lives in Valle Gran Rey, a village in the Canary Islands. In this village, many fishermen spend their days fishing on the steps near the village’s harbor. They’ll often throw the bycatch into the harbor, which attracts a wide variety of sea creatures, including giant stingrays.

Every morning, Joel heads down to the water to say hello to the giant stingray who lives there. One day, someone captured video of Joel greeting his stingray friend.

The incredible video shows Joel and another little boy walking up to the sea and putting their hands in the water. The stingray immediately comes up to his say hi, and Joel fearlessly pets it on the nose.

The stingray stays still, letting Joel pet him. It’s clear that the stingray knows Joel means him no harm.

Some of the fishermen who work on the island bring Joel a box of shrimp, and Joel feeds it to his stingray friend. The stingray happily eats all the shrimp Joel gives him.

Joel keeps feeding the stingray until the animal is completely full. Then, Joel pets the stingray one more time before he disappears back into the sea.

Stingrays got their name from their poisoner stinger, but they’re not typically aggressive. Stingrays usually only use their stinger when they feel that their life is in danger. As can be seen in this incredible video, stingrays can actually be very friendly!

The person who captured the video of Joel and the stingray posted it to , where it went hugely viral. The video now has over 50 million views.

Many people were amazed by how calm Joel was as he interacted with the stingray. One commenter wrote :

“My faith in humanity’s restored. These boys have good souls.”

Another commenter loved seeing how respectful Joel was with the stingray:

“This is really amazing. It’s also good to see that the boy knows to respect boundaries and doesn’t go too far (e.g. jumping in with the ray). The ray flapping back to the boy was so fantastic.”

A third commenter discussed their experience diving with stingrays:

“Sting rays are members of the shark family but they’re very friendly and playful in the water. I’ve dived with them and had great fun playing with them. They’re wonderful creatures.”

Joel is a kind little boy who has made a very unusual friend. If you want to see the amazing footage of Joel playing with and feeding the stingray, check out the video below!

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