Eric was the first human Ariel ever met in her entire life. She first met him when he was drowning from a ship wreck when he was ten years old, caused by what appeared to be the Flying Dutchman. At first, she was scared to try and do so, but managed to overcome it and quickly get him ashore. She waited until he was awakened and sung to herself: it was her singing that awoke the boy, as the two met face to face, and she fled the scene. But this wouldn’t be the last time either one of them would meet.
Six years later, she sees him again, and yet again saves him and his friend Frey from drowning at the hands of Davey Jones. Only this time, Eric manages to stop her in time to talk. It’s through their second encounter, they discover they both have a lot in common, and that both had thought of one another for the past six years, fascinated by each other. They even shared an accidental first kiss… which sparked something between them. Although slowly coming to Eric, Ariel had already known that she was in love with him.