Ventra Card costume invites quite a bit of abuse

  • Jake Gunst, 26, of Chinatown, dons his Ventra costume.
Jake Gunst, 26, of Chinatown, dons his Ventra costume. (Handout )
November 04, 2013|By Mick Swasko, @swasko | RedEye

Jake Gunst’s Halloween costume proved so offensive, he was yelled at, cussed out and hit. Repeatedly.

All he was wearing was a blown up copy of his Ventra card, the new fare collection system for the CTA.

“Everyone already hates the Ventra card,” the 26-year-old from Chinatown said. “I didn’t have to do any twists on it for it to be a rude thing to wear for Halloween.”

Gunst said he hit four parties over the course of Halloween week wearing a box with a near exact replica of his Ventra card he made in Photoshop. He barely did any walking around outside of parties, but when he did, things weren’t pleasant.

“All I had to do was walk around a short corner, and in that span of time, there were all these ‘(bleep) you!’ and ‘I hate you,’ comments,” he said. “When I walked into a bar, the bartender stopped to look at me. I said ‘I was told I could use this for everyday purchases.’”

The costume got a mixed reaction inside of parties, too. Gunst said several people stopped to ask him questions about activating their Ventra card, tell horror stories about not receiving their cards or getting several in the mail. As the parties wore on, things even got physical.

“People would hit me a lot,” he said. “It was mostly as a joke, but I eventually had to remind them, ‘Hey, my body is under here, it really hurts.’”

Gunst even wonders if the hatred for the Ventra card is what lost him the title of best costume at his office Halloween party.

“I think a lot of people projected what they thought of Ventra on me,” he said. “I was several times in the running for best costume. I never won. I think people couldn’t separate their hate for Ventra from the actual costume.”

As for Gunst’s own experience, he said he’s probably more confused about Ventra than anybody. He said he hasn’t gotten his card in the mail, and is currently using a temporary card issued from machines at CTA stations.

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