Polydactyly: Afflicted Man Grateful For Extra Fingers and Toes

37-year-old Cuban man Yoandri Hernandez Garrido has an unusual physical feature, one that has earned him the nickname “twenty-four.”

Hernandez has been dubbed veinticuatro in his native Baracoa- which is, of course, Spanish for “twenty-four.” And while spare digits may seem like a curse, the upbeat man views his extra toes and fingers as both a “blessing” and a career asset.

Hernandez’s condition is known as polydactyly, but the way it manifests in this case has resulted in unusually well-formed extra digits. He says that when he was a child, he was examined by one of the most prominent physicians in the field in Cuba, one who tended to Fidel Castro- and the doctor indicated that Hernandez’s extra fingers and toes were perfect. Hernandez explained:

“Since I was young, I understood that it was a privilege to have 24 digits. Nobody has ever discriminated against me for that,” he said. “On the contrary, people admire me and I am very proud. I have a million friends, I live well.”

In fact, he says, polydactyly has helped him earn a living, something he feels would otherwise be a massive challenge. Hernandez explains that his condition has been a boon and even resulted in financial windfalls, enabling him to support his family by posing for pictures with tourists and climbing trees to pick coconuts:

“It’s thanks to my 24 digits that I’m able to make a living, because I have no fixed job.”

Hernandez says he hopes to be an example to children who have been born with polydactyly, and that they will learn that the condition is not always a detriment. The Baracoa man is father to a 10-year-old son, and is expecting a child with his girlfriend.