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Family tries to start Christmas flash mob, security guard threatens to ban them from mall

By Nadine Maeser, nmaeser@wdbj7.com
Published On: Dec 27 2013 05:06:38 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 28 2013 01:30:42 AM EST

Tonight, we're introducing you to one family that tried to start a new holiday tradition here in Roanoke with very little luck.

ROANOKE, Va. -

A Roanoke family tried to start a new holiday tradition with very little luck this holiday season.

The Keeps wanted to spread a little Christmas cheer, but it didn't go quite as planned.

It’s a story that’s got a lot of people talking on social media. Many are calling it a “flash mob gone wrong.”

The Keeps came into Valley View Mall Monday night with good intentions, but the trip ended with a not-so-good outcome.

For the Keeps family, music is everything and Christmas is one of their favorite times of the year.

Julia Keeps is the youngest of nine children and there's 41 grandchildren in the family so when the idea of a flash mob came up in conversation, they all jumped on the bandwagon.

A couple of Keeps’ nieces asked her to direct it and she said, “Sure you give me the details and I’ll show up."

The plan was to show up to the food court at Valley View Mall and start singing Christmas carols at 7:22 pm.

Everything went as planned until they were interrupted.

"We got through the first two songs and we started on the second one and that's when the security guard came out,” said Keeps.

Keeps said the guard tapped her on the shoulder and told her to stop singing. “I was kind of in shock,” she said.

According to Keeps, the guard told her if she didn’t stop everyone she would be banned from the mall for a year.

Keeps soon called the whole thing off soon after that.

WDBJ 7 reached out to the mall Friday. A spokeswoman said the situation was a big "misunderstanding" and that all the parties involved had resolved.

The family agreed and just wanted to set the record straight.

"We wanted to spread cheer that night and just kind of remind people what the real meaning of Christmas is,” said Keeps. “It's love and peace. We certainly did not want to create any chaos for anybody."

The Keeps also don't want to blame the security guard for the problem. They believe they just caught him at the wrong time and actually returned later in the night to give him a box of cookies.

The mall has invited the family to come back next year to do a 45 minute show inside the mall.

They haven't decided whether or not they will pursue that.

According to a mall spokeswoman, Valley View welcomes carolers.