He has no fixed job but he makes a living by his unusual trait: he has six perfectly formed fingers on each hand and six impeccable toes on each foot.

They call Yoandri Hernández Garrido "Twenty-Four."

Hernández is proud of his extra digits and calls them a blessing, saying they set him apart and enable him to make a living by scrambling up palm trees to cut coconuts and posing for photographs in this eastern Cuban city popular with tourists. One traveler paid $10 for a picture with him, Hernández said, a bonanza in a country with an average salary of just $20 a month.

"It's thanks to my 24 digits that I'm able to make a living, because I have no fixed job," Hernández said.

Known as polydactyly, Hernández's condition is relatively common, but it's rare for the extra digits to be so perfect. Anyone who glanced quickly at his hands would be hard-pressed to notice anything different unless they paused and started counting.

Hernández said that as a boy he was visited by a prominent Cuban orthopedist who is also one of Fidel Castro's doctors, and he declared that in all his years of travel he had never seen such a case of well-formed polydactyly.

"He was very impressed when he saw my fingers," said Hernández, who is the only one in his family to be born with extra digits.

In a part of the world where people's physical traits are often the basis for nicknames — even unflattering ones like "fatty" or "shorty" — "veinticuatro" ("twenty-four" in English) is not an insult but rather a term of endearment, and Hernández, now 37, said his uniqueness has made him a popular guy. He has a 10-year-old son with a woman who now lives in Havana, and his current girlfriend is expecting his second child.

"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."

Nevertheless, it occasionally caused confusion growing up.

"One day when I was in primary school, a teacher asked me how much was five plus five?" Hernández recalled. "I was very young, kind of shy, and I didn't say anything. She told me to count how many fingers I had, so I answered, "12!"

"The teacher was a little upset, but it was the truth," he said.

Hernández said he hopes he can be an example to children with polydactyly that there's nothing wrong with them.

"I think it's what God commanded," he said. "They shouldn't feel bad about anything, because I think it's one of the greatest blessings and they'll be happy in life."

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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