A rough script of what happened:
M: My mother, japanese citizen visiting the office on behalf of my father who works abroad.
And so it begins:
M: *arrives at desk with letter* Hello, I was wondering if you could help me. I received this letter and some of the details are innacurate...
S: *abruptly* Fine! Sit down.
M:*Sits down and waits*
S:*Picks up phone and exclaims in an obnoxiously loud voice* Hi, is this so-and-so? We've got this CHINESE woman in here and she doesn't speak A WORD of english. Something about a tax form, can you see her? She won't stop hassling!
M:*raises hand in disbelief* excuse me?
Later on the lady from the office came to have a consultation with my mother. Of course, my mother who has lived in this country for 25 years and speaks the language fluently (and has some fairly hefty qualifications for scottish universities) stated that she was offended that the secretary assumed her race - it was none of her business where she was from and that it had absolutely nothing to do with her tax! On top of that, the secretary was so rude and, as a secretary she is the public face and representative of the council...which is always going on about promoting multiculturalism. The lady apologised sincerely and said she was going to 'have a word' with the secretary.
Quite frankly, I hope she got disciplined or fired. I can't believe someone could act like that, assume something in such a racist fashion and be employed by the goverment!