Alessandro Franzoi was hiking with his family near Sporminore in northern Italy on May 24 when the child stumbled upon the bear, according to local reports. The animal was a Marsican brown bear, which can weigh up to 220 kilograms (485 pounds).
The boy, who was ahead of his family, turned around and started carefully and calmly retracing his steps. That’s when he told his mother to “make the video,” according to Italy’s Ladige newspaper.
The video shows Allesandro carefully walking down the slope, his hands held out in front of him and balled up into little fists. The bear can be seen following along from a distance of five to 10 metres throughout the video. The boy’s stepfather, Loris Calliari, can be heard quietly coaching him through the incident.
“Come, come, Ale,” Calliari said, according to a translation by CNN.
“This is so cool,” the boy says at one point in the video.
Alessandro turns around just as the bear pushes its way through some bushes, but the boy never stops moving. He looks back again a few seconds later to see the bear rearing up on its hind legs.
The kid just smiles.
The bear continues to watch from its hind legs but it seemingly loses interest and stops following after a few seconds.
Calliari posted the video online after the incident.
He told CNN that he and Alessandro were in a group of about six people when they stumbled upon the sleeping bear on Sunday during a hike.
He added that he was nervous at first, “but then saw that the bear was not scared, was not acting, So I calmed down.”
He says the family had recently watched a video about bear encounters, so Alessandro was “prepared” to handle it.
If a bear is stationary, it’s best to slowly move sideways to get away from it, according to the U.S. National Parks Service. “This allows you to keep an eye on the bear and avoid tripping.”
The National Parks Service also recommends staying calm and speaking in low tones to avoid spooking the bear.
“Most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone.”
No humans or bears were injured in the incident — but one boy is going to have one incredible story to tell his friends.