Memorable Vons checker moves on to Snowcreek
You all know Fireball. Even if you don’t know him, you know him.
For the past nine years you could pretty much hear him before you could even see him at Vons (and this is not a jab about his relatively diminutive stature), running his mouth in an endless feedback loop. A living, breathing Energizer Bunny.
But last Friday (November 3) marked his last day of work at Vons. And it left some, particularly local youngsters, feeling very disoriented.
As one mother told The Sheet, “The kids would never ask if we were going to Vons. They would ask if we were going to see Fireball.”
If they’re going to see him now, let’s hope they have a taste for sushi, as Fireball has
Sheet: So … what was the reason for the move?
“Ultimately, it was time,” said Fireball, whose actual name is Greg Smith.
Sheet: How did you get the name Fireball?
Fireball: It was given to me when I first moved up here to ski, although lately, some people have started calling me Furball ‘cause I don’t ski as fast as I used to.
Fireball grew up in Orange County and graduated from Alhambra High School back in 1985.
His mother died of cancer when he was in the 8th grade. His father walked out of the house one day when Fireball was about 20 and literally disappeared. Fireball and his sister, who lives in Dana Point, never saw nor heard from him again.
After high school, Fireball got a job working construction, building the first tract homes in Sunnymead and Fontana. It was hotter than hell, tough work and a tough boss. “The foreman was a hard-ass,” recalls Fireball. “There was no b.s. It was get the job done. But he was like a surrogate dad to me. He taught me to be a worker … I love working.”