Navy mom surprises son while taking Santa photo at mall

A young boy was caught completely off-guard when he went to visit Santa at the local mall in what can only be considered a “Kodak moment.”

12-year-old Dylan Workman was heading to the mall to see Santa Claus when the man in red delivered him a very special gift- his mom, who had been deployed in Bahrain with the US Navy Reserves.

“I’ve been stateside since early November, but I didn’t know when I was getting to actually come back to Ohio,” said mother Julie Workman, who is from Cleveland. “I found out Monday and flew home Tuesday. He knew I was in Virginia, but had no clue when I’d be home.”

Deployed since January, she conspired with her sister-in-law and husband to come up with the perfect plan.

“I was nervous. My palms were sweating, my stomach was all tight and I was waiting for the right moment,” she said, recalling waiting in ambush to surprise her son. “When my cousin saw Dylan get up on Santa’s knee, he waved for me to come out. I didn’t know why I was so anxious because this is my son. I was just so excited to see him.”

Dylan was overwhelmed at the sight of his mother, nearly at a loss for words.

“He was shocked,” she said. “His jaw dropped and he didn’t know what to do,” said the proud Workman. “When he jumped up and hugged me, he asked, ‘Where did you come from?’ He wouldn’t stop hugging me.”

According to ABC13, while the family hasn’t planned anything yet, Workman says she’s ready to start transitioning back to her civilian routine.

“You miss a year and you’re crazy getting back to what everyone does on a daily basis,” she said. “It’s exciting just to be able to get back into the swing of things. I’m excited to wake up and take him to school and can’t wait for him to get off the bus at the end of the day, and take him to basketball and play with the dogs and do normal things again.”