We've seen people bond with dogs, cats, birds and primates. But can you imagine having animal friends like this? Over the years, Darrick has developed a deep friendship with each of the elephants at Elephant Nature Park in Thailand.
While Darrick loves all of the elephants at the Nature Park, he's formed an especially strong bond with Kham La.
So when Kham La hears Darrick on the park grounds, she and the rest of the herd do something incredible. Now footage of their reaction to Darrick visiting is going totally viral – and once you see it for yourself, you'll understand why...
Being a volunteer, Darrick has had time to watch the elephants grow and, over the years, he's been able to participate in their lives on a deeper level. Together, they've built a trusting relationship that involves cuddles, rubs and playtime.
Even though all of the elephants love Darrick, Kham La has become completely attached to her human friend.
That's why Kham La (and the rest of the herd) gets so excited when Darrick comes to visit. As soon as they hear Darrick calling for Kham La, the entire herd perks up.
As soon as Darrick calls to her, they all come running. Kham La is always in the lead, running to Darrick's embrace. The elephants' large size is an excellent comparison of the love they have for their friend.
They immediately recognize his call and treat him like their very own.
Even though the elephants at the park are considered wild animals, they treat Darrick like a real friend. People like Darrick are patient enough to build trust and it pays off in the most incredible way.
According to the Elephant World website, this type of find reaction by the pachyderms to humans isn't unheard of.
The site explains:
"There are some heroic stories as well of elephants stepping in to help humans. It can be to protect them from animals including other elephants at times. They have been able to help them when natural disasters occur, moving heavy items to get to people and to rescue them.
Most researchers aren't surprised by these acts at all though. This is because they elephant is well known for being intelligent and capable of experiencing the same emotions as humans."
By the looks of things here, Darrick loves visiting the Elephant Nature Park – and the elephants enjoy his trips just as much. This is a place where he can see the animals up close and know that they appreciate him. What an interesting dynamic!