A woman racially abused a driver in a Trafford Centre car park then stuck her fingers up in a fit of rage, a court heard.
Emma Fallon, from Merseyside, was caught on camera swearing at the victim and using a racist term after the car she was in was 'cut up' on the motorway.
Fallon's son, who was six at the time, was present and had pleaded with his mum not to confront the victim on July 20 last year.
"The complainant was making her way to the Trafford Centre at 1pm. She was the passenger and her husband was driving" Tess Kenyon, prosecuting, told Manchester Magistrates' Court.
A car then 'stopped in front of them'. "The defendant, the passenger, put the window down and said 'remember me? We were the people on the motorway you couldn't give way to, f****** ar*******'.
"She was described as being really angry. The more she was shouting the angrier she seemed to get", Ms Kenyon continued.
The victim became 'really worried'.
"At one point she could hear a small child in the back of the other car saying 'no mum'", Ms Kenyon told the court.
Fallon, 39, from St Helens, got out and approached the victim's car. She was stood at the driver's side.
She then 'hit the car', the court heard.
"As she walked away she said 'f*** off you p***."
As Fallon left the scene she 'stuck two fingers up', the court heard.
The victim said she was Pakistani and said the 'racist term' upset her deeply, the court heard.
Ms Kenyon told the court that Fallon said the reason for her behaviour was due to the incident on the motorway, which had meant her car had to switch lanes.
"It caused her to panic and she accepted that she overreacted."
Addressing Fallon, chairman of the bench Richard Lenderyou said: "Somebody cut you up on the motorway, how did it escalate?"
Responding, the defendant said: "My little boy screamed, he thought we were going to have a car crash.
"I'm very protective of my family. One of the worst things I fear is my little boy growing up without a mum or a dad.
"Something in me snapped, I can't explain what it was. For the life of me I don't know why I did it."
She told the court she had written a letter of apology to the victims.
She previously pleaded guilty to racially/religiously aggravated intentional harassment/alarm or distress in words or writing.
She has no previous convictions, the court heard.
Footage of the incident was played to Manchester Magistrates' Court on Monday.
Representing herself, a visibly emotional Fallon told the court: "It's completely out of character. I should never have done it.
"When we saw them the way they made it sound was like I woke up and thought 'I'm going to cause trouble'.
"That was not my intention. I didn't foresee that coming. For the life of me I don't know why I did it. I can't explain how sorry I am to everybody involved. To my family as well, and little boy, I have upset them. I have held my hands up."
Fallon, of Eliza Street, was sentenced to a community order for 12 months. She was also told to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work.
Mr Lenderyou said it was 'inexcusable to racially abuse the lady in the car'.
"You have done it in front of the child. I'm sure this will be something that will stay with you for a long time," he said.