SANTA SCARE | Photo of toddler signing for help from Santa's lap goes viral

SANTA SCARE | Photo of toddler signing for help from Santa's lap goes viral

PARKTON, Md. (WBFF) - Twelve years ago, Kerry Spencer put her 1-year-old son, Sam, on Santa's lap for the first time. Now the picture of the little boy is going viral, with more than 28,000 likes and 150,000 comments on Twitter.

The adorable photo shows the toddler signing for help after being handed over to Santa.

The family, which then lived in Utah, is now in Baltimore County.

FOX45's Alexa Ashwell talked to Spencer, who still laughs when thinking back to that day.

Her son's reaction was not quite what she expected.

Sam, his eyes filled with concern, used sign language to tell mom he wasn't feeling safe with old Saint Nick.

"The correct way is to sign for help is like this, with your thumb up, not sideways. But it's very common for babies to mispronounce things," she explained, demonstrating. "It's part of linguistic development, but I knew exactly what he was saying in the picture: 'This is sketchy and I need your help, now.'"

Sam is now a teenager, and he said of the moment: "It was scary. That man, that beard was scraggly. He smelled of smoke. I was 1 year old."

Years later, the picture is so memorable, the family posts it every year around Christmastime, usually to Facebook.

But this year, by request from a friend, she posted to Twitter, where it's been retweeted again and again, reaching hundreds of thousands of people across the world - hopefully spreading a little holiday cheer many can relate to.

"They did a story on us in... Osaka and in London," said Kerry Spencer, noting the incident "made us laugh. We like to make other people laugh. And now we've made a lot of other people laugh."

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