HENRICO (WRIC) - A special moment between a sea lion and a Glen Allen boy with autism is capturing attention across the country.
The viral video shows 7-year-old Alex Bittner and Sophie the sea lion playing together at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
"It was one of the happiest moments I've ever seen for him and he was just completely full of joy playing follow the leader with this beautiful sea lion," says mother Jennifer Bittner.
What makes this moment even more magical is that Alex has autism, so he sometimes struggles to connect with other kids.
"My relationship with Sophie was just amazing," Alex says. "She was looking at me through the glass. I was at one side and then I ran to the other side and then she came to the other side with me."
The Glen Allen family's video has gone viral since mom posted it online with more than 45,000 hits on YouTube in just four days. Alex and Sophie's story has also been shown on the national news.
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