UPDATE: (3:45 p.m.)—Jennifer and Sam Spruce were in line with their two children to see Santa at the Westfield Annapolis Mall when the power went out on Thursday night.
"We were there late and were one of the last families in line. The mall staff notified us that the chance of us having our picture taken with Santa was very slim," Jennifer Spruce said in a post on Facebook. "We were still several families away and only had less than 10 minutes left when the mall went completely black."
A high-voltage transmission line fell down near Bestgate Road in Annapolis taking several Baltimore Gas and Electric substations with it shortly before 9 p.m. The outage put throughout Anne Arundel County in the dark.
"We had our 4-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son, and it was their first time ever seeing him," Jennifer Spruce said. "My daughter was so excited and couldn't wait to meet him."
When the generators kicked in and the lights came back on at the mall, Santa and his elves announced that the computer system was down and he could no longer process transactions for photos. Rather than call it quits, Spruce said Santa told the crowd he would stay late and allow parents to use their own cameras for photos.
"Santa and I made a decision, and we stayed on set until approximately 9:30 p.m.," Cherry Hill Photo assistant manager Chrissy Houck said. "The kids were very upset with the power outage, and we just couldn’t just send them away."
Houck said 20 families passed through after the power came back on—including three families who were waiting on pictures to print. Houck gave those pictures away for free because without the computers, she had no way to charge them.
"We just said Merry Christmas," Houck said.
For the families who didn't have cameras or didn't want to wait, Houck passed out vouchers that allow them to skip the line if they come back on another day.
"Because of this man's sincere love for the children and of the Christmas season, he made this Christmas extra special for my kids and for many others last night," Jennifer Spruce said. "Santa Claus, thank you with all of my heart for giving so selflessly and generously of your time and making Christmas warmer and brighter for all of us!"