He always reminded you to turn on your headlights…and told you where the hottest parties were. We’re remembering Santa Ana’s legend “Cheerios.” 


“Cheerios” real name was Kenneth Pierre

Although he was known as “Cheerios,” his real name was Kenneth Pierre. As profiled by the Orange County Register in 2009, Cheerios was born in 1929 and grew up in Chicago. At a time, he worked in a General Motors Factory. By 1980, he moved to Santa Ana with his parents and lived with them until they passed.

He gained notoriety for using his flashlight to remind people to turn on their headlights

Cheerios earned his status as an urban legend by hanging outside of most high school football games in Santa Ana and waving a flashlight at cars that did not have their headlights turned on.

Why would he do this?

“I saw too many accidents in this city, too many,” he told the Register in 2009. “People forget to turn on their lights, they forget, if you don’t tell them to. I know.”

For the most part, his life remained a mystery


Until the Register profiled him in 2009, not much was known about Cheerios. He had no listed address or phone number. He didn’t vote, drive or own property. He did have one incident on his record — a write up in 2006 for disobeying a police officer.

Turns out Cheerios really enjoyed football and loved collecting phone books. His favorite lunch was Chef Boyardee canned spaghetti and he loved solving puzzles.

No, his wife and children were never killed in a car accident

A myth passed down between generations was that Cheerios had a wife and children killed in a traffic accident. Turns out, that wasn’t true. Cheerios was never married and never had children.


He always knew where the hottest parties were

Watching out for people has its perks. Cheerios always knew where the parties were or where people were cruising. Sometimes, he’d go along.

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He passed away in 2012, at the age of 83

Pierre was hospitalized during the spring of 2012 after a fall, when doctors discovered that he had double pneumonia. He was moved between hospitals and was then sent to a nursing home. He died in the home on September 28, 2012.

But even after his death, he remains a Santa Ana legend. Anyone who had ever interacted with Cheerios most likely has a story about the time they encountered him. He loved Santa Ana and dedicated his life to keeping its residents safe.

Like many have said, “El Que No Conoce A Cheerios, No Conoce Santa Ana.” (A play on El Toro Market’s slogan.) 

Long live Cheerios!

Do you have a special memory of Cheerios? Share it below in the comments!

Originally posted 2016-04-12 21:53:41.

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