A woman appears to cough on Clayton Gardner after he asked her to move away from his performance space (Screenshot / Clayton Gardner via Facebook)

By Sarah Bahari, Dallas Morning News | Texas singer-songwriter Clayton Gardner said he was only 15 minutes into his outdoor show Friday night in Irving when a woman approached him. She requested a song by Lee Ann Womack, and Gardner suggested she could have made her request from 7 feet away. Instead, she inched closer.

“Are you for real right now?” he asked the woman in a video of the encounter. “Please get away from me.”

The woman then grabbed his red bandanna, drew close and appeared to cough on his neck.

The incident at Texican Court in Las Colinas was captured on a live Facebook video Gardner was recording during his performance.

In a post accompanying the clip, Gardner said that he handled the situation with as much class and patience as he could, and that he is trying to protect his 3-year-old daughter from getting COVID-19.

“In a matter of seconds this lady took that away from me. I was honestly shocked and pretty defenseless sitting there holding my guitar,” he said. “The audience was equally as shocked. I’m outraged by her behavior and the behavior of many others in our world today. I would much rather be at home but unfortunately I have to play some gigs to pay my bills, just like the rest of you.”

Gardner did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did Texican Court, a boutique hotel near the Irving Convention Center that on its website invites visitors to “social distance in our great outdoors.” The website highlights that it hosts live music in an outdoor courtyard at its Two Mules Cantina on weekends.

In a follow-up Facebook post, Gardner asked people to not make it a political issue and said it wasn’t a “fake, PR stunt.”

“I‘m apparently a crazy liberal because I wear a mask.. Just insanity,” he wrote. “I shared it because I am tired of seeing people act like this.”
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Updated at 12:05 p.m. July 21 with Gardner saying the woman has apologized.

“I accept her apology,” he said. “She made a mistake, and we’ve all made mistakes, and I think that it’s OK to show her a little grace and forgiveness.”

Go here to read the whole story and to watch the video:

Sarah Bahari is a freelance writer covering Irving for The Dallas Morning News. Email her tips at sarahbahari@gmail.com.

Thanks to Erica Brown for calling our attention to this story!

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