Sophomore communications major, Jacob Pina, has one feature that usually sticks out to people. He is just like other RWU students, except for the fact that he has an abnormally large left thumb. In his freshman year of high school, Pina realized how different his thumbs were. His left thumb measures at a length of five inches. But it wasn’t always like that. As a child, he had a normal-sized thumb.
Even with the incredible difference in size, his doctor has never said anything and has not brought it up. Pina said people have interesting reactions when they see his finger.
“Usually, they have a shocked reaction to my thumb and call others over to compare their thumb sizes as well as their own,” Pina said.
To Pina’s own surprise, he began going viral online. People were amazed and he got his own 15 minutes of fame over an anomaly he hasn’t even thought much about.
His thumb even caught the attention of the British tabloid-style newspaper, DailyMail. Pina’s story was broadcasted on their website and even their Snapchat subscription. Being on Snapchat’s top stories was a shock to Pina, but he embraced it. He began wondering what kind of attention this would bring him and how long it would last.
“Becoming a viral sensation has made my life more interesting and has boosted my self-confidence, but I wouldn't say I’m famous or anything," Pina said.
His biggest problem is the constant “can I see your thumb," question, as if he people do not even see him as a real person. Still, Pina loves making people laugh so he goes along with it. Having a big thumb has its perks. Many people might not realize this, but he said it makes gaming a lot easier.
Pina has not made any profits from becoming a viral sensation, but his image has not left people's minds. His original TikTok, which started his following, is still popular, amassing two million likes on a single video and a growing fan base of 150,000 followers. His image hasn’t stopped at DailyMail or TikTok. With a search of “guy with the big thumb,” multiple articles pop up right away, including a New York Post article calling Pina’s thumb “freaky.”
People seem to lose their minds over something that seems normal to Pina. With technology today, a 20-year-old student with a big thumb from Westport, Mass. can become a viral sensation like Alex from Target or Damn, Daniel.
Who knows what is next for RWU's own celebrity. Pina’s advice to others with large digits is to embrace their uniqueness. He has, and he wouldn’t change it.